Castle Hill and the Dragon’s Revenge – Hiking at Blackstone

Have you ever wished you could foresee the future? I’ve decided I don’t want to know what lies ahead. Fear can be a powerful force and even if I knew about the happy events, perhaps the over-riding desire to avoid pain from other happenings would leave me mentally paralysed – unable to act? I wonder if the young Welshman, Lewis Thomas, would still have ventured to Australia if he’d known what the future would bring.

The story of Lewis and Ann Thomas has many aspects of a fairy-tale – a long sea journey, love and separation, the rise from rags to riches, a castle, tragedy and even a formidable fire-breathing underground dragon.

I would never have known about their story had I not been interested in hiking at Blackstone Hill, better known as Castle Hill, in Ipswich, near Brisbane. The area has been a popular destination for mountain bikers but until recently I had no idea of the reason behind its name. A grand castle once stood on the hill. A castle in Australia? How did this come about?

Once upon a time a poor boy in Wales had a dream to make his fortune. Lewis Thomas started working in a wool factory at the grand old age of nine and then worked in coal, lead and iron mines until 1859, when he married Ann Morris. Two weeks later, he left her to seek his fortune in the gold fields of Australia. It was to be 17 years before Ann joined him and they had their only child, Mary.

(Pictures of Ann and Mary Thomas  – Cooneana Historical Centre, Ipswich)

Seventeen years in today’s world seems a long time but at least we have phones, the Internet,  fast mail service and cheap aeroplane travel. Back then mail went by boat and often took six months. During this time, Lewis made provisions for Ann to come to Australia on a number of occasions. However, she feared the long and perilous trip by herself to a colony which must have seemed quite alien and brutal to her.

The goldfields did not bring riches but after working in coal mines in the Ipswich area, near Brisbane, Lewis Thomas went into business with another man and after years of hard work eventually became a wealthy coal king.

To house the king’s family, Brynhyfryd, a castle containing 49 rooms, three stories, a tower and 15 acres of terraced gardens was built on Blackstone Hill in 1891.

castle ad 1

(Aerial  shot of Brynhyfryd that appeared in a newspaper advertisement – Cooneana Historical Centre.)

Hot houses filled with exotic plants, fruit trees from all over the world, magnificent vegetable gardens, and a dairy and poultry kept the castle’s inhabitants well-fed. The rocky hill was unsuitable for gardens so drayloads of rich soil were dragged up the hill to construct them. The extensive gardens meant that fresh flowers adorned the rooms of Brynhyfryd throughout the year.

Expensive imported materials including Welsh slate, South African teak and marble were used as well as 600 000 locally hand-crafted bricks. The castle even boasted a hydraulic passenger lift, electric lighting from its own generators and a tower from which distant Moreton Bay could be viewed.

Brynhyfryd picture

(Brynhyfryd – Cooneana Historical Centre)

 So what happened to the castle and its inhabitants? Lewis Thomas died in 1913, after having been a member of parliament, a supporter of the local community and father of the Queensland eisteddfod. Sadly, Lewis and Ann’s only child, Mary, died in her early 40s after giving birth to her 5th child. Wealth could not save her from a fate which befell many women in those days. The Blackstone residents were shocked by the sudden death of this highly regarded community member.  Ann Thomas eventually died in 1930.

After Ann’s death, the wealth that constructed Brynhyfryd contributed to its downfall. During the depression years no-one could afford the upkeep of such a grand residence and it was passed up at auction. It was eventually sold to a company which planned to exploit the rich coal reserves underneath.

That’s when Lewis’ secret was discovered. He had earlier excavated mining tunnels in the hill to extract some of its riches. This activity had already led to instability of the land with  cracks appearing in the driveways. Further mining increased this and as the land subsided and explosions from burning underground coal seams occurred, the castle continued to deteriorate rapidly. I read reports of a jersey cow suddenly disappearing down an opening in the ground and that smoke and steam continually rose out of the ground in places from underground burning coal seam fires. The black coal dragon lurking in the depths of the hill expressed its displeasure at its belly being removed and enacted its final revenge. Eventually, the crumbling castle was sold for demolition and removal. Within 80 years, Brynhyfryd was no more.

castle site with cactus

 There are still buildings in Ipswich which contain some of its remnants though, such as the Welsh United Church, which contains the engraved glass front doors. Brynhyfryd Park lies on part of Blackstone Hill and the names Thomas and Mary appear on a street corner.

I’ve been back to Castle Hill to check out the trails and also to find remnants of Brynhyfryd. Most of it is now bushland teeming with life but as for evidence of previous human habitation and a magnificent residence, this is all I could find.

brick steps at castle hill

wooden ladder castle hill

water storage tank castle hill

However, there was evidence of ongoing excavation and building of a different kind…

termites castle hill 1

termites nest in tree

ants at castle hill 1

The discovery of flora and fauna taking over the hill was a reminder that while human-built stone kingdoms may rise and fall, the natural living world lingers and in some cases thrives.

yellow flower spray

purple flowers castle hill 2

wattle flowers 2

two pea flowers 2

fungi 1 at castle hill


orange flower castle hill 3

grass seeds

orange and grey bark castle hill

mantid egg case

brown and white feather - castle hill

weevil on stalk

golden orb weaver

glasswing butterfly

weevil on finger 1

brown butterfly

St Andrews Cross Spider

path through scrub

tree with orange trunk and grey bark

It was strange to stand in quiet bushland and ponder the changes that had taken place in this location. It is ironic that the coal mines which brought the wealth to build Brynhyfryd were also in part responsible for its demise

The hill is still unstable and contains open mine shafts, sinkholes and cracks seeping steam and smoke from underground coal seam fires. Warning signs in some areas describe the dangers. Leaving trails is not advised!

warning sign castle hill

I spent most of my walk sweating, not from exertion but from apprehension. By the end though, I was criticising myself for being needlessly careful, that is until I noticed this small sinkhole which had steam/smoke seeping out of it.

sink hole

The surrounding land was hard dry rock but this hole was dark and damp inside and I could feel the heat rising from it. It indicates a deep crack or shaft below the surface where a coal seam fire burns. I see this in other areas of Ipswich sometimes. Here’s a map showing 70 underground mines  in the area. I’m not sure what ‘aspro” stands for but someone suggested to me that the mines caused headaches from noise and explosions.

map of mines in ipswich(Cooneana Historical Society)

The site was purchased by the Ipswich City Council last year for $1 with the intention of creating a recreation and heritage site for the community. Much work will need to be done to stabilise the area though. An elderly local man who has memories of visiting the ruins of the castle suggested to me that they should just put down explosives underground to settle it. I asked him what the surrounding residents who live lower down the hill would think of this idea. “They don’t have to know,” he answered with a wink.

The success of Lewis Thomas encouraged Welsh Immigration and the Blackstone area still has strong Welsh ties. The United Welsh Church was partly funded and built on land donated by Thomas. At the time the Welsh community decided that their Welsh heritage was more important than small sectarian differences and so the denominations united. It is the only Welsh Church in Queensland and one of only four in Australia. The Welsh Soccer Club is situated next to the Church.


I visited the Cooneana Historical Centre recently looking for information about this Australian Castle. What I found there was memorabilia of coal mining in days gone by. There were also poignant stories of those killed in mining disasters in Ipswich, particularly the Box Flat Explosions. It’s a reminder that the beauty and luxury of Brynhyfryd was built partly on the backs of men who worked in what were often extremely dirty and dangerous conditions. The mines gave them an income to feed their families while at the same time the pollution contributed to their health problems and those of the community.

coal miners

coal mining tools 2

coal miners tools 4

newspaper clipping Box Flats Mine

In a world now conscious of the depletion of natural resources and the environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels, it will be interesting to see when coal mining eventually ceases in Australia. It has a strong tradition here. Back in Lewis Thomas’ day the technology for large scale solar and wind energy production didn’t exist. Coal was the answer to the energy needs of the masses. Now, however, we have the technology to provide much cleaner energy sources.

Clouds at Castle Hill 1

66 thoughts on “Castle Hill and the Dragon’s Revenge – Hiking at Blackstone

  1. Another fascinating insight Jane. Look forward to coming back to this again when the house move is done and life returns to normal!

    • Thanks! Good luck with the house moving. It can be exhausting. This is an extra long post which takes up some time to read. Best wishes with the move! 🙂

    • Thanks, Susan. I hope we can but it has been such a large part of our history and wealth that it may take some time. There are still new coal mines being approved to start now. It is disappointing as we certainly have the sunshine in many parts of our country to convert into energy. We just need a bit more investment in it and a mind-set change. It’s very topical at the moment. Thanks for reading and commenting. Always lovely to hear your opinion. 🙂

    • Yes, it is fungi, but I have no idea what kind! 🙂 It’s one of the weirdest things I’ve seen. The outside was white and smooth. Thanks for reading. I’m glad you found it interesting. 🙂

  2. Hi Jane, loved the historical aspect of your post, and I love a good ruin! It’s such a shame that there isn’t more of the building still standing. You have done a good deal of research to bring us this interesting post, so thank you for your time and efforts. 🙂 Wonder if the site is haunted? I agree that it is fascinating to stand and wonder at times gone by, and to try and connect to the way of life so long ago lived, and in such a different way to ours. It always gives me pause for thought, and to no doubt ask what history has taught us? Hmmm…..Thanks Jane 🙂

    • Hi Leah,
      Yes, it’s a shame there isn’t more left. I believe there was a small part of graffiti-covered brick wall standing last year surrounded by a barbed-wire fence. I read some recent words by Ivor, the child Mary Thomas gave birth to when she died. He was very upset that more wasn’t done to preserve the building where he was brought up by nannies. Haunted? Well, I didn’t feel any weird vibes, just fear about being sucked underground! No doubt there may be some stories to tell though. I only touched the surface of the castle history in my blog really. Copyright stopped me from sharing more pictures. Yes, I am sure there is a lot we can learn from history however many of us have short memories. I know that I am quite good as repeating the same old mistakes! Thanks for reading and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed the history element. 🙂

  3. Thanks Jane that was really interesting! One of my grandfathers was an Ipswich coal miner, but that’s all I know. Its good to have a bit more insight into what that means. And I had no idea there was ever wealth on that scale out there!
    I love the local man’s cheeky wit too. Made me chuckle!

    • Hi,
      I’m glad you found it interesting too. I was unsure if I would be the only one. I was shocked to read about the castle as I really don’t associate the area with that kind of wealth. Apparently Lewis was in the same league as our current mining moguls. The Cooneana Historical Centre is open for a few hours on two days of the week. It has many records of miners there. If you let me know details of your grandfather in a message I will have a look next time I go there. There could even be pictures. It was a hard life for the men who worked underground that’s for sure.
      I think the cheeky fellow enjoyed my surprised face when he made that suggestion. He told me quite a few stories which I can’t relate in this blog. 😉
      Thanks for reading. I’m pleased that you got something out of it. Since you know the area well I guess you appreciate how the news of this castle surprised me. 🙂

  4. What an interesting story, told well by you as per usual! Those early settlers really had it tough hey. I love stories of australia’s early days, and great that you can see and hike the remnants today!

    • Thanks, Anna. Well, I’m glad you found it interesting too. Sometimes I can get quite excited about historical details that bore other people so it is always a risk writing about them! Yes, those early days were tough. We often get bothered when our phone/Internet doesn’t work for a few hours. I find it amazing to think that the only form of communication Lewis and Ann had for the 17 years they were apart was letters sent by long boat journeys. Thanks for reading. Lovely to hear from you. 🙂

      • The internet was out at work for an hour today and we all cried like bitches. Lol. It puts things into perspective. 17 years is a bloody long time! Continue to write about history – those that find it boring can skip, while those that like can read it! Half the time i write just to keep my mind sane from endless “frozen” movies and barbie doll playing. Im no writer, but its fun to give it a go and use the mind!

        • Heheh…yes, I know I get a bit wound up if the Internet isn’t working either! It’s such a different world today, isn’t it? I can’t imagine being in that couple’s shoes. Thanks for the encouragement about history writing. As long as someone else likes it I will continue to throw in a post here and there. What do you mean you aren’t a writer? I thoroughly enjoy your hiking tales. They are very entertaining. Yes, I remember the days when I had little kids and I craved some adult conversation. Life was a bit of a blur back then. You keep writing too! 🙂

  5. It’s such fun to dig into local history and unearth what went before. I suppose “unearth” is rather apros pro in this case. Wonderful pictures to go with a well told tale. Keep it up. It seems to me you have quite a few followers who love this sort of stuff.

    • Thank you, Gunta. I’m glad you found something of interest in it too. History is one of my passions and I must admit I am surprised when other people enjoy delving into the past too. I guess I have memories of being labelled a nerd at school. “Unearth” is indeed rather appropriate in this case. 🙂 Have a lovely weekend and thank you for your ongoing kind support of my blog. 🙂

  6. Jane, love how you combined a history lesson with the wonderful nature photos in your post. Thanks for all of the research, this was a great read. Coal mining has also done havoc over here—sad how people rob the land for a buck.

    • Thanks, John! I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. It has taken me a while to gather the information and then I found it a bit of a headache to know what would be of interest or not. Yes, coal mining has caused a lot of havoc in many parts of the world. Sadly, Australia is still very much dependent on it but attitudes are changing. I always enjoy hearing from you, John. Thanks for the encouragement. 🙂

  7. Excellent post, both historically, and on the nature aspect of how the grounds where the castle once stood are reverting back to their natural state!

    Here in North America, almost the same events took place many times over. A man from humble beginnings struck it rich in one industry or another, built a castle for his wife, then tragedy beset the family, and the castle was left to fall into disrepair. There were one or two in Michigan, and one in Canada on the shores of Lake Ontario. Even the mobster, Al Capone from Chicago, had a castle built in northern Michigan which he used as a hide out until he was sent to prison.

    I don’t know which part of your post that I like better, the historical aspect, including photos of the artifacts, or the nature photos, it’s all great!

    • Thanks very much, Jerry, for the lovely feedback and also for telling me about similar stories in your area and Canada. Fascinating to read. I can understand their dreams of escaping poverty but it’s a shame that sometimes wealth can often consume people and end in destruction of their own lives and others. Material things don’t necessarily last. Economic downturns and tragedies occur which can quickly change our circumstances. Strong relationships do last though and don’t depend on riches. I had no idea that Al Capone had links with Michigan.
      Thanks, Jerry. Looking forward to more beautiful wildlife pics from your way. 🙂

  8. Hi Jane. What a fascinating read!. As someone who grew up only 45 minutes away from Ipswich and has been out there many times, I am really surprised to read this historical account – I had no idea! I had no idea of the castle or the coal seams still burning away under the hill. As for worrying if anyone is interested in reading about history – I loved this post! 🙂

    • Thanks Amanda! I must admit I am still feeling surprised about the castle. It just doesn’t fit with my picture of Ipswich at all. There are some wonderful pictures of the place that I couldn’t share due to copyright. Going back to the hill and seeing nothing much there besides bushland is quite a weird experience. A reminder that material things come and go so quickly sometimes. I’ve driven past the area many times with no idea of its past glory. Well, I’m glad you liked the post. I always enjoy your beautiful pics and stories of places I want to visit. The southern coastline is calling me! 🙂

      • I am going to have to go and check out the spot now, I am intrigued. As for the southern coastline calling you, I have 2 more posts to go for Wilsons Prom and the photos are much better than my ones from my Mount Oberon post. You have to get to the Prom Jane you will love it! Wouldn’t it be great if we could organise a big southern hike one day with Dayna, Neil and some of the other southern bushwalking bloggers we know? You and I still have to plan our walk too 🙂

        • I was thinking the same thing. How lovely to have a bloggers meet-up walk! Every year I’ve been planning to visit Melbourne in winter. Maybe I will make it this year? I first saw pics of Wilson’s Prom in Greg’s Hiking Fiasco blog and have been keen on it ever since. The pics in your blog keep teasing me now. I haven’t forgotten our plan for a walk either. I have more time free time at the end of June and then July. Hopefully I will be more organised soon. 🙂

  9. When I see big houses built by men who exploited mineral wealth, I always look to see the houses of the men who actually dug up the minerals so I am not very sad when I see a big house crumble away. It sounds very exciting to have to walk among sink holes and underground explosions. I am glad that you survived and showed us another set of wonderful pictures. I am surprised that you ever finish a walk because you see so much on the way.

    • Thank you, Tom.
      I agree completely about the exploitation. It’s rather interesting to see how simple the tiny wooden Welsh Church is in comparison to pictures of the castle. I know that the miners’ homes were much smaller too. Here in Australia we have a few extremely rich owners of large mining companies. A great deal of wealth is in their hands. Some things don’t change! Yes, I’m afraid I am very slow at finishing my walks. Sometimes I need to return to get more photos of the parts that I didn’t make it to the first time. This usually only happens when I am on my own or with those rare individuals who don’t mind walking with a snail. I hope you get some better cycling weather soon. 🙂

  10. Hi Jane, this was a very interesting post…I just loved it…the story of this family would make a great book. First of all I cannot imagine waiting 17 years to meet my husband in our new home! Just that alone has my imagination spinning. How satisfying for you to research and photograph this place! I think my favorite picture was the one of the feather against the blue blue sky.

    • Thanks, Shanda. I think I remember reading that a Welsh film production crew made a documentary about it. Yes, seventeen years is a long time and without any spoken contact on the phone or by daily emails! 🙂 I’m pleased that you found this story of interest too. There were many more details to the story but I thought it was overly long and might bore people as it is. The feather was a lovely find. A pheasant coucal I think. Have a great week. 🙂

  11. Oh Jane, my life right now is so busy but when I am able to take the time to savor your blog posts they leave me inspired. I laughed out loud at this sentence: “A few months ago he had a close encounter with death while cycling and now seems less eager to risk his life than usual.”

    Great photos!

    • Thanks, Shanda. This wordpress system is a bit confusing with comments. I think you were referring to the Mt Maroon hike. Yes, there were some hilarious moments on that walk. I can’t imagine you ever getting time to read blogs with your huge family, so I am humbled that you take the time to read mine! 🙂

  12. Fascinating story, beautifully written and with some fab pictures as always. I find the recolonisation of industrial spaces by nature really interesting. I visited (and blogged about) a place called Dunn’s Swamp (or Ganguddy) to the west of the great divide at Christmas time – it looks like a pristine wetland but the ecosystem is founded on a dam built in the 30’s to supply water to a concrete factory! Thanks for the fascinating read as always.

    • Thanks for the encouraging words again. It is quite amazing sometimes the way nature reclaims an area and it looks like it has never been used for any development. I must have a look at that blog post of yours too. That reminds me of an area I visited lately. The coal-fired Swanbank Power Station in Ipswich has been decommissioned and there are waterways there which are already home to many birds. It will be interesting to see what the whole place looks like in 10 years time. Thanks for reading and commenting. Always great to get your input! 🙂

  13. Oh, I forgot – something you might be interested in looking out for is an amazing documentary about landscape photographer Edward Burtynsky, who takes gorgeous pictures of ruined industrial landscapes. The film is called Manufactured Landscapes. Visually spectacular as it is, I reckon it could turn anyone into a greenie!

    • Thanks for that tip! Sounds just like my kind of thing. I actually think I may have seen some a couple of his pictures at a Uni of Queensland gallery display last year. I must try to have a look at the documentary. Thanks again! 🙂

  14. Bravo! What an interesting hike. I’m glad that you are keen to research where you are going or have been. I certainly relate to this post. I also love your perspective regarding nature and in this case as most the original owners always return and often win while we make places uninhabitable for us. ; )

    • Thanks, Jude. Have just got back now from being away all day on another hike. I went back to check on a large old grass tree population that had been affected by a fungus. While many of the very old trees are gone, it was heartening to see a forest bursting with young ones. Bush fires have been through and germinated seeds and it seems the soil/water fungus is getting under control. I was stoked! Anyway, I have to catch up on other people’s blogs tonight, including yours I see. Thanks for your your interest and your thoughts. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

  15. A very interesting Rags to Riches story. I wonder what the original owner would have made of the eventual downfall of the local area, including the extensive damage to the land?

    On a different subject, I’m now starting to recognise some Australian Species like the St.Andrews Cross spider – so reading this blog is turning out to be an educational experience 🙂

    • Thanks, Rob. I think it’s probably a good thing that the original Thomas family never got to know of its demise. I know of at least one living relative who was the newborn baby that survived after Mary died giving birth to him. Apparently Ivor was very disappointed to see it was gone. I’m pleased you are enjoying the blog. I am also learning more about your part of the world from your blog. 🙂

  16. Your account of the castle and its fate reminds me that when I was a teenager the father of my best friend told us an old story. There once was a king who summoned his wise men and asked them to come up with a statement that would be true no matter what it was applied to. After much consideration, the wise men returned to the king and said: “This, too, shall pass away.”

    The name Castle Hill jumped out at me because when I visited New Zealand in February I stopped for an hour at a site that’s also called Castle Hill, although that “castle” is natural rather than man-made:

    • I remember your post about Castle Hill, Steve. 🙂 It’s a lovely spot that I hope to visit when I make it there one day.
      “This, too, shall pass way,” is something I have heard too. It can be a comforting thought when we are dealing with pain and strife and also a reminder not to place too much emphasis on certain material things or to focus on retaining perfect youthful looks.
      Thanks for another thoughtful comment, Steve. I do appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment. 🙂

  17. I loved reading about Lewis and Ann Thomas from Blackstone Hill and their life and destiny. I feel there could be a movie made from this story, don’t you think? Very nice that you have included old photos of how Brynhyfryd once looked. I can imagine how life on this castle must have been. Feel bad for those who worked in the mines. Underground coal mining was definitely dangerous bad in the days, and to a certain degree it still is today. You photos are stunning as usual, I enjoyed them very much. Thanks for sharing a great story!

    • Hi, I’m glad you enjoyed their story! I believe a Welsh film crew may have already done a documentary on Lewis. Somewhere in my searches I think I came across a book or academic paper about the life of Lewis Thomas, the coal king. I can imagine a great movie being made out of it though.
      Yes, the conditions for miners were terrible in years gone by and I imagine in some parts of the world the safety conditions are still very bad. We have quite a few mines in Australia and from time to time there are still accidents that cause death and injury.
      Thanks for reading and for your encouragement. I pondered for quite a while about whether to share this story as sometimes I can get excited by history that bores others. 🙂

    • Thanks, Brad! Great to hear that you got something out of it. I felt like I went on a journey in the process of finding out the background for it. I wondered what I would uncover in the process. I hope you’re finally getting some blue skies up your way. 🙂

  18. Jane you weave the most wonderful stories from these hiking adventures of yours. This time there was much history, and I especially love that your write with such a flair for detail and interesting points, yet you do not overwork the story with too much information to take in. Always interesting detail for us to ponder. And of course I love that this was a story of “life lived”. Oh and let’s not forget, I can’t keep from boasting about your wonderful photographic captures. Thanks for another delightful read!! 🙂

    • Ah, Lori, you are always so very kind and encouraging with your compliments. Thank you! I’m glad you think I didn’t overwork the story. I get little pet interests and so highly excited by some discoveries that it can be really hard to make decisions about what to include. I must admit the story of Lewis and Ann had me tearing my hair out a bit as I felt bad trying to reduce their lives to a blog post! I wonder what people would write about me in 100 years. The Internet is certainly going to change the way people are remembered as there is so much recorded there – some things perhaps we don’t want remembered. 😉

  19. Hi Jane. What a varied post! The countryside around here also bears the scars of mining – gold mining. The gold mining areas are now covered by bushland which has regrown. Old photographs show the hills and valleys stripped of vegetation. However, we don’t have smoke escaping through vents in the ground. I find it hard to imagine underground fires smouldering away.
    Those ants with the red heads and large jaws certainly look ferocious.
    The final photograph of the small fluffy clouds is a beauty.

    • Hi Margaret,
      It is quite amazing and encouraging to see how some places in Australia have regenerated after having been badly scarred. Some residential areas in Ipswich were built over old coal mines which has caused problems for them and there was one spot right near a home by a busy road where I would often see smoke rising out from the ground from a still smouldering coal seam. Quite weird really and a bit concerning. I really don’t know how long it will take for the smouldering to cease or if there is anything we could could to hasten the process.
      The photo of the clouds was taken right at the end of my walk. I think it heralded a chilly night to come.
      Thanks for your interest, Margaret and the supportive comments. You are very kind. 🙂

  20. How very interesting and intriguing Jane! You photos as always are most interesting and bring out more of the wonders of our Aussie bush which often go unnoticed. A most enjoyable dissertation!

    • Thank you for the kind feedback. I’m glad you found something of interest in the story and enjoyed the photographs as well. I’m a bit of a history fan and enjoy finding out about an area that I hike in. Sometimes the stories are a little sad or gruesome though! Have a lovely week. Looking forward to checking out your latest nature posts later today, after work. 🙂

  21. That’s a fascinating story Jane. The sinkhole is quite disturbing to see. I think you were wise to be cautious. It was beautiful to see the feather – who do you think it belongs to?

    • Thanks, Gail. I think the feather may be from a pheasant coucal but I’m certainly no expert. I’ve seen them in the area and even see one in my back yard occasionally. Yes, the sinkhole was disturbing. I saw it right at the end of my walk. Going off the track is certainly not advisable as grass and bushes can hide these areas and they can appear at any time. People mountain bike there regularly. I saw a group as I was leaving. I’m not sure I’ll go back though. The interesting thing is these areas also appear in other parts of Ipswich as well. from time to time I see steam/smoke coming out of ground cracks. Thanks for reading and commenting, Gail. I really look forward to your blog posts. 🙂

  22. Fascinating. We explored this many times when I was a child (I’m 43 now) and there were far more remains there then of Brynhyfryd. It has changed so much. The land is always reclaimed by nature. There were a lot of fissures with smoke then and none of the warning signs! It’s so interesting to finally learn of the history – I knew there had been a castle but not of the story behind it. It is heartbreaking.

    • Hi again, Fiona! Wow, It’s amazing to think that there were so many smoking fissures and no warnings. I’m curious about what was left there when you were a child. Would you believe that it’s now been revamped recently into a walking and mountain biking reserve with a huge fancy sign and marked trails? I should go back and do an update on it. Strangely, I felt no fear of being there alone when I explored the area for this blog post, however now I wouldn’t want to go there alone. Once the weather is cooler I’ll see if family will go with me and try to write an update next year. It’s certainly been a quiet year on the blogging front in 2020. I’ll see if I can contribute more in 2021. Thanks again for visiting and taking the time to comment. Best wishes. 🙂

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