Friday, 23 October 2015

Some different views around Hay-on-Wye - photo-heavy

We had to go to Brecon yesterday, so decided to go on the extra 15 miles or so to Hay-on-Wye and have a day out.  I was trying to capture the Autumn colours on the way, but failed miserably.  You really need to be on foot and not in a car on a bumpy road!  The best colours were around the roundabout  as you come into Brecon, as they have planted it with Field Maples and Cherry Trees and it is gorgeous, but the photo I took there was just a blur and only a tiny bit of tree in that blur! This is the road just past Trecastle.

An ill-timed photo with the flat-topped peaks of Pen-y-Fan in the distance.

A little colour in the hillside trees.

A brief glimpse of sunshine up on the top of Hay Bluff.

Arrival - the view from the car park in Hay.

Local apples.  Named English varieties with the flavour and crispness you just don't get from imported apples which languish half the year in cold storage after being flown half way across the world.  I have a small selection of fruit trees which I have planted here, but it's not a good place for apple-growing - the soil is thin and sour and they get scab, bitter-pit and canker.  I bought some of the 2nd tray in - Ribston Pippin, which I would like to grow in my orchard.  The first ones are King of the Pippins, then there is Blenheim Orange and Mother of All (I think) at the end.

It was market day and earlier on I had bought some Jupiter apples - they are a cross between Cox and Starking Delicious, and very close to a Cox in flavour, but crisper I think.

My orchard is going to have oldies such as Pitmaston Pineapple, D'Arcy Spice, Ashmead's Kernel, Cornish Aromatic, Devonshire Qaurrendon, etc.  The little orchard at Glasbury where I took photos on our last trip to Hay was being picked this week and there was a trailer full of apples parked up there.

Just the time for pumpkins.  I don't know what price these were, but I was a little surprised to see how cheap they were in Morrisons in Brecon later, where we did our small grocery shop.  £1.50 for medium Pumpkins and just 50p for small ones.  How can the grower make any profit on those?  All those ones being carved out for Halloween will mostly have the centres chucked in the bin, rather than eaten.

This is a lovely shop which always has very unusual things in it.  A real eclectic mix.

Across the road, this doorway was crowned by a splendid hanging basket of Fuschias, still in full bloom, as our Indian Summer has kept temperatures mild for the time of year.

In the Ironmonger's, an interesting display - those Mason Jars with straws seem all the rage these days.

This house is on the corner of the road we turn into to reafh the car park.  For many years it was a book shop specializing in gardening books, but now it is a private house again.

Next door is this lovely house.

Over the road this Virginia Creeper was colouring up.  This was at the side of the building.  The header photo, with that amazing blue tint, was at the front.

Until yesterday, I never knew there was a livestock market in Hay.  There was a small building set back from the main road, and this was around the back, overlooking the original castle motte.

The motte and bailey date from 1100 AD and if you have ever read Lady of Hay by Barbara Erskine, this is where Hay Castle was set - not the "modern" one up above the centre of town, overlooking Backfold (which was the old Shambles for the town, the abattoir.)

A row of cottages down Church Street (and opposite St. Mary's Church, which is next to the Castle).

Peeping through the hotel gates, I caught this little bit of autumn gold.

Back on the main road through Hay now are these pretty cottages.  The end one on the left had a little table with produce on - jars of jams and chutneys for sale.

The next row of terraced house.  These bright red doors liven things up on a dull grey day.

Opposite are the Alms Houses, which go beyond my photo range.

When I first read this, I read "For the reception of 6 poor, INDIGNANT women"!!!

Heading back up the hill now, and this "turret" is nicely done.

Twr-y-capel - now a private home, with an excellent ironmonger's on the far end, was once the old Trinity Chapel, although the Italianate tower sets it apart from other chapel architecture throughout Wales.

Finally, back to the car park.  We had a lovely day, and I managed to get several Christmas presents accounted for, as well as a book for myself to complement what I bought at Woolfest recently, as the book is Art in Felt and Stitch.

Today, it's back to normality, and I have some baking to do - Cranberry and Orange bread - and another batch of Pontack Sauce (receipe to follow).


  1. Hay is somewhere we've not been for a few years, must go again soon. i'm glad the bookshops have not been put out of business by the internet, they were worried about that a few years ago.

  2. Hi Sue - well, there are fewer of them, that's for sure. I think Amazon holds the edge for new books (so many are discounted), but for a brilliant selection of 2nd hand books, Hay has the edge for on the foot shoppers. I find it rather dear there, truth be told, but still add to my collection on occasion (e.g. regularly!) There are more antiques-collectables outlets, and several up-market clothing and interior design shops but how well they do I don't know as they don't stay forever as overheads are so high (so are house prices in Hay or we'd be tempted to move there.)

  3. We love Hay, but from Hampshire it's a long trip, was there last year, sad to see not so many books shops as before. I remember so many more for visits, but as with every where else the charity shops take over.

  4. Marlene - another Hampshire Hog I see! Yes - from Hants it's a loooong day trip! It takes us about an hour and a quarter on a good day. I can think of two charity shops, but there are definitely less book shops and more antiquey (well collectables rather than proper antiques) places now. I hope you get the chance to visit again soon.

  5. A really interesting post with so many lovely photos! Haven't walked round Hay for years - really would love to go back. What a shame some of the booksellers have closed :( In my recent book decluttering exercise I was trying to persuade myself to take the Barbara Erskine novels to the charity bookshop but I am glad I kept them as I so enjoyed Lady of Hay and might well now read it again.

  6. What glorious glimpses of my old stamping ground BB. When I lived in Wolverhampton with my first husband we were musicians and went frequently to play at week-ends with friends at Pen Pont, just outside Brecon. Hay on Wye was a place we often visited.
    Also, isn't it good to see good old English apples returning to our shops and market stalls?

  7. R. Robin - do re-read lady of Hay. It is such a good novel and I can see the places so vividly in my mind's eye, from knowing them well, and it adds to the atmosphere of the book. I think her novels, like Phil Rickman's, are ones you can enjoy again and again.

    Pat - I now imagine you as an itinerant musician!! Penpont looks a gorgeous place to stay. We like Brecon a lot and go there for auctions, as well as Militaria Fairs, and shopping sometimes rather than Carmarthen if we are at the auction. I love to find the old types of apples on sale, and always stock up. The greengrocers in Hay always stocks local produce.

  8. Just remembering how much I like stuffed marrow

  9. Simon - you can have my share! Mum used to make it but I always thought it very watery and insipid. This from thegal with the Vindaloo tastebuds though . . .

  10. Oh what a lovely post! I feel as though I've had a surprise day out after seeing all those great photos. I've never been to Hay-on-Wye (it's a long way from my home in Cornwall!) but as a person who cannot resist buying books, it's probably a good job I live at such a distance. Thank you for taking me there x

  11. Well that was a lovely tour of somewhere I've never visited-thank you, so glad you had a nice day out too!

  12. Rambler and Suzie - I'm so glad you enjoyed the day out too! As we go to Hay regularly, and I always seem to take the same photos, I thought I would explore a bit. I will do some more next time, so a better overall picture of the town is on here to enjoy. Rambler - ah yes, if you love books and can't resist buying them, you would go home with empty pockets! - but with a grin on your face.

  13. WOW ! what a beautiful header photo.
    as always I so enjoy your photo, Thank You for the lovely post.

    cheers, parsnip

  14. Yes indeed a lovely post with lots of photos to look out. Think I would get exhausted looking at everything though Hay is a fascinating place.

  15. Hay looks such a lovely town, I really must go there one of these days. I love the names of the old varieties of Apple's that you plan to grow. They conjure up images of an ancient and slower paced world that I'd love to live in.