In his new book Wild Ruins, author Dave Hamilton hunts out 300 of Britain’s most romantic, picturesque or hidden ruined buildings. Exclusively for the VisitBritain Blog, he has selected 5 of Britain's most spectacular crumbling castles, ancient forts and abandoned churches for you to explore.
1. The Highlands castle that once saw battles
The ruins of Ardvreck Castle in the far northwest of the Scottish Highlands are a truly awesome sight. The remains of the ancient castle stand tall in the stunning wild landscape of this remote part of Scotland. The castle was built by the Macleods of Assynt to protect their lands from warring clans in the area. Now the area is mostly inhabited by rare birds of prey, wild cats, red deer and rare wild flowers.
2. The church being consumed by trees
In the middle of a small wood, in a forgotten part of Norfolk, in East England, stands the enormous St Mary’s Church hidden among the trees. A large arched doorway opens wide like the mouth of a cave and where the congregation once sat a big tree has taken root. The church was built in the 15th century and after 200 years of use it was abandoned and began to fall into ruin.
3. The Scottish castle no one sees
There is little to compare to the sheer drama of Kilchurn Castle. It is beautifully positioned in the middle of a loch, surrounded by mountains in the West of Scotland. Built in the 13th century, the castle was a stronghold for the Campbell clan. It is about 90 minutes’ drive from Glasgow, on a route which takes you right past the breath-taking scenery of Loch Lomond National Park. However, there are few who travel on from Loch Lomond to this part of Scotland, making it referred to as ‘Britain’s best kept secret’.
4. The Roman fort that once guarded the sea
The imposing 2 towers of the ruined 12th-century church at Reculver lie just off the coastal footpath on the Kent coast in southeast England. The church stands on top of the remains of a much older Roman fort which would have once guarded the Watsum Channel. For hundreds of years, this strip of sea cut off the land to the east, forming the Isle of Thanet. The Watsum Channel has since long vanished but the Isle of Thanet has retained its name, despite no longer being an island.
5. The medieval edifice in Wales
Raglan Castle is a large medieval castle located in southeast Wales. The castle was built on the site of an old manor house in the 15th century. It lies not far from the English Border between the Brecon Beacons National Park and the picturesque Wye Valley.
Discover all of Dave's Wild Ruins in his new book. VisitBritain readers can get 30% off - just enter 'Visit Britain' as your coupon code.