Today in my Welsh class, I was asked if I knew something of historical interest in my local area of the village that I live in. I really could have gone to town with my answer, as there are so many places of historical interest located in my local area, and in particular in Bodelwyddan, where I live.
I could have spoken about the most obvious choice- Bodelwyddan Castle, the magnificent 18th Century historic house, now home to a National Portrait Gallery collection, which can be seen from my lounge.
Perhaps the most relevant choice to me would be the ‘Marble Church’, where my husband and I got married last year, commissioned by Lady Willoughby de Broke in memory of her husband. The interior contains different types of marble and the Gothic exterior is made from a local limestone which resembles porcelain. In addition, the graveyard is the resting place for a number of Commonwealth Soldiers, more than 80 of which belong to Canadian men who died at the local Kinmel Camp during World War One.
It is along this theme that I decided to answer my Welsh tutor, as I wanted to say something that my class may not have already been aware of: in Bodelwyddan there are a number of WWI practise trenches and other war relics located within and around the castle parkland.
A fantastic project, which finished last year, called Britain From Above, collected and mapped thousands of aerial photographs from the unique Aerofilms collection taken between 1919-1953. Their photographs looking down on the area are well worth a look, some of which can be seen here.
For those of us who want to dig in even deeper, Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust (CPAT) published a report on the trenches last year and is a fascinating read, including some details maps and photographs of associated artefacts.
Many of the trenches can be publicly accessed within the castle grounds and it just goes to show that by digging that little bit deeper some absolute national treasures can be found on our doorsteps. They may not be large monuments, attracting thousands of visitors every year, and in some cases they may take a little time to ‘get your eye in’ when viewing them from the ground, but head to the skies- either physically or virtually, and a whole new world of historical sites can be revealed, right under your feet.