Category Archives: New location

Chepstow Castle, Monmouthshire – August 2014

Chepstow Castle

Croeso and welcome back to another Doctor Who locations post!

Timey-wimey stuff! Today we are travelling back in time again in my TARDIS to August 2014 and visiting Chepstow Castle in Monmouthshire. This is where The Day of the Doctor (2013), the 50th Anniversary Special was filmed and I wanted to see where the Doctor married Queen Elizabeth in England 1562!

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle was also used as a filming location for the monastery in the Doctor Who two-parter The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People (2011), and also Merlin,  the 1980’s TV series Robin of Sherwood ( not Robot of Sherwood ) and Ivanhoe – which was filmed 102 years ago!

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle is on a cliff overlooking the River Wye. As you can see in the amazing shot in the episode when the Doctor and Elizabeth are first seen, it is breath taking stood on top of the cliff looking out over the valley. This Norman castle is the oldest still-standing stone fort in Britain. It was built in the 11th Century and started just a year after William the Conqueror’s invasion of Britain. It was built by William Fitzosborn, a relative and friend of William the Conqueror, who became the Earl of Hereford. Until the late 14th Century the Normans called the castle  ‘Striguil’ from the Welsh word ystraigl meaning “river bend”.

Chepstow Castle is managed by CADW who conserve Wales’ heritage, and I have been to many Doctor Who locations looked after by CADW including Caerphilly Castle and Neath Abbey. I had a great time at this castle and explored all around. I saw the oldest castle doors in Europe (800 years old and made of wood!) Imagine all the history that these doors have seen! I walked along the battlements and climbed a tower and had a fantastic view of Wales. I even saw the scariest toilet in probably the whole world – the scary thing is that it is over a cliff. Aaaaargh!!

Chepstow Castle doors

I saw where the Tenth Doctor and the First Elizabeth got married, watched by the War Doctor, Eleventh Doctor and Clara. Clara threw confetti over the couple as Elizabeth gave the Doctor a very big snog! Then the Doctors and Clara went ‘back to the future!’I wonder if they saw Marty McFly?

Chepstow Castle
Where the Tenth Doctor married the First Elizabeth

I spoke to the Chepstodians about Project Indigo and how I like to follow in the Doctor’s footsteps. One of them was there when the crew were filming and she told me that they had built the Zygon’s nest in the castle cellar! She was so lucky – if I could watch Doctor Who being filmed I would be so happy.

Chepstow Castle

Chepstow Castle was the first location I visited on my Welsh adventure last August and I am happy to say I will be going back to Wales again this summer to revisit my Welsh roots – and visit some more Doctor Who locations of course 🙂 .

I’m sorry there has been a delay with this post – I have had computer trouble but I made it in the end. Thanks for reading, I hope you will come back and join me again for my next Doctor Who adventure!

Hwyl fawr!

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Pompeii, Italy – April 2015

Pompeii and Vesuvius

Salve!

In this post I am back in Italy and this time I am in Pompeii! In my last adventure I visited Cinecitta, Doctor Who filming location for The Fires of Pompeii (2008) but today I am visiting Pompeii, the actual story location! David Tennant also went to Pompeii for the episode’s Doctor Who Confidential and was amazed by what he saw.

I travelled to Pompeii via train from Rome and had a little stop off at Naples on the way. I then took a train on the Circumvesuviana line and enjoyed looking at the mountains and the Bay of Naples for the short ride.

People believed Pompeii was destroyed in 79AD when Vesuvius erupted, but it was actually buried and now it has been uncovered we can see what life was like in Ancient Pompeii. When I arrived at the excavations of Pompeii I first went in to the Suburban baths which were the public baths for the residents of Pompeii. I prefer a bath at home myself!

In the Fires of Pompeii the Pyrovile want to make earth their new planet and are using Vesuvius to set up a fusion matrix to convert the human race into Pyroviles! They would use energy from Vesuvius which would stop the eruption but the Doctor knows he must let the eruption go ahead or the whole world would become Pyrovile.

Overlooked by Vesuvius

Vesuvius is the first volcano I have seen and it was breathtaking. I felt a little bit unsafe being so close to a volcano but I knew that people monitor it to check when it will erupt. Vesuvius has erupted 30 times since Pompeii’s tragic moment and last erupted in 1944 killing 26 people. With more than 3 million people living around the base of Vesuvius it is considered the most dangerous volcano in the world!

I walked up to the Foro which is just like the Town Centre. This is where the Pompeians came to shop, trade and worship all under the shadow of Vesuvius. This is where Lobus Caecilius (played by Peter Capaldi)  would have sold his marble sculptures and where he bought the TARDIS as a piece of Modern Art!

The Macellum was an indoor fruit and veg market so it would have been like popping to the supermarket for the Pompeians. In a glass case was a plaster cast of a body which was not nice to see. There were many casts to see at Pompeii preserving bodies at the moment of death which made me sad for the real people who were caught in the grip of the eruption.

Pompeii Macellum

After the Foro I walked up the Via di Mercurio to see the houses and I pictured Caecilius and his family living in one of the houses. There was even artwork on the walls which reminded me of Caecilius’ family worshipping their household Gods. On the way back from the houses I enjoyed a mystery flavour Gelato – possibly kumquat – then I explored some more baths! I am very glad that I have a bath in my own house!

Lobus Caecilius Fires of Pompeii

 

Pompeii was BIG! Next I set off right across town to where all the entertainment was held. The Amphitheatre is the oldest surviving Roman Amphitheatre and was used for gladiatorial  fights – nowadays it is sometimes used for concerts. I would not want to see a gladiator fight as it is cruel but for the Pompeians it would be entertainment. I think those people were sick! All over Pompeii I kept finding little lizards but in the Amphitheatre I found over 50!

Pompeii amphitheatre

From the amphitheatre I walked past the sports stadium, which was closed off, and made my way to the Teatro. The theatre was where Pompeians would watch performances of comedies and tragedies. I would have liked to have seen some of the comedies but not the tragedies as I prefer laughing to crying.

Pompeii theatre

I spent over 5 hours exploring Pompeii and by the end my body felt like jelly on a plate, I was worn out by exploring in the ridiculously hot heat. I had an amazing day and learnt a lot of things and felt so sad for the people who lost their lives in 79AD. I wish there really had been a Doctor to prevent the eruption but then the world would be in someone else’s hands.

Pompeii

Thank you for reading my post about Pompeii, I hope you have learnt a bit and have enjoyed reading about my adventure. I hope you will join me again another time.

Vale!

Cinecitta, Rome, Italy – April 2015

Cinecitta entrance

Buongiorno!

This month Project Indigo went international and I travelled in my TARDIS to Italy – and now I am back and ready to tell you all about it.

In this post we are visiting Cinecitta (Cinema City) in Rome – filming location for the Doctor Who episode The Fires of Pompeii (2008). In this episode the Tenth Doctor and Donna arrive in Pompeii on 23rd August 79 AD, the day before Mount Vesuvius is set to erupt, and meet with the Pyrovile. This story is Donna’s first travel through time and also features the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, playing Caecilius and Karen Gillan as a Sibylline Soothsayer. Both Peter and Karen have English accents  – that must have been strange for them! The cast and crew travelled to Cinecitta to use the amazing ready built sets – they had considered Wales and Malta but they felt that Cinecitta was the place to be. This was the first time that Doctor Who had been filmed abroad since the Doctor Who movie in 1996.

Venusia Cinecitta

 

When I arrived the first thing I saw was a statue of Venusia from the movie Casanova by Federico Fellini.Then I went in the Fellini Room and watched a documentary about the fims made at Cinecitta. This room tells the story of Cinecitta from 1936-1945.Cinecitta is the largest film studio in Europe and was founded by the Italian Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini, to boost the Italian film industry. It was bombed during the Second World War and afterwards was used as a refugee camp for two years.

Zoolander 2 Cinecitta

Next I took part in a guided tour of the outdoor sets. Some of the areas were closed to the public because two Hollywood movies were being filmed right then in the studios- Ben-Hur (2016) starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Huston and Zoolander 2 (2016) starring Ben Stiller! I didn’t get to see any of the filming unfortunately. Usually on the tour you can see the set of New York and Broadway created for the Martin Scorsese film Gangs of New York (2002) but that was being used for filming so I couldn’t see it.

Rome Cinecitta

 

I could see the set of Ancient Rome which covers about four hectares. It was created for the Anglo American TV epic Rome (2005) which starred Indira Varma from Torchwood who I saw last year in The Globe Theatre rehearsing Titus Andronicus. I have never watched Rome as it is a bit fruity I think! The set recreates Rome at the time of Julius Caesar and shows the buildings of The Roman Forum with the Via Sacra, Triumphant Arch and the Temples of Venus and Jupiter. Earlier in the week I had been exploring the real ruins of Ancient Rome such as the Colosseum , the Forum and Palatine Hill and I had a race in the Circus Maximus (which I won!)  so it was fantastic to wander around and see the colourful buildings as they would have looked two thousand years ago. These sets were made of fibreglass , plastic and wood and will only last 15-20 years – not 2000!

Rome Cinecitta

Doctor Who was filmed in the Subura area where people’s homes and workshops were created. I saw the streets of Pompeii where the Doctor and Donna landed in the TARDIS and where they witnessed the devastating event of Vesuvius’ eruption. Luckily for me there was no sign of the Pyrovile!

Doctor Who Cinecitta

After the Rome set I saw the set of a new film Christ the Lord (2016) which is due out next year and tells the story of Jesus as a young person. This film stars Sean Bean and Doctor Who actor David Bradley who plays Solomon in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (2012) and William Hartnell in An Adventure in Space and Time (2013). I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures – Spoilers!

Rome Cinecitta

After a picnic I visited the Presidential Building which contained an exhibition all about the many films that have been made at Cinecitta including Roman Holiday, Ben Hur, Cleopatra The Taming of the Shrew, Quo Vadis and A Fistful of Dollars!  After the war Cinecitta became known as ‘Hollywood on the Tiber’ with lots of American movie stars coming here to film. I saw lots of old cameras and film making equipment and writing and photographs and costumes telling the story of the great films that have been made here. I also watched lots of Western film clips including Django and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, which I watched sat in a Saloon. My favourite part was the Facts and Figures room – a dark room with lights dancing round the walls and I span around until I felt sick – good thing I didn’t get sick! I left via a submarine set that was in the film U 571 – it looked just like a real submarine and it was hard to believe it was not real.

U-571 Cinecitta

I had a great time at Cinema City and enjoyed learning about all the films that have been made here. The studio was very big and it was so interesting and exciting to look around. Thank you for reading my first post about Italian Doctor Who locations – I have more to come and hope you will come back again. Please leave a comment and let me know what you think of my first international report!

Arrivederci!

Llandaff, Cardiff – August 2014

Llandaff Cathedral GreenHalloooo,

lately  there has been a lot of grotty weather so lets go back in time again and go to yet another Welsh location – Llandaff! My holiday in August 2014 was so much fun and I love to remember and tell you all about it!

Llandaff is north of Cardiff City Centre, beside the River Taff. It is famous for being the birthplace of Roald Dahl, the author of children’s books and Terry Nation – the creator of the Daleks!Look at the Roald Dahl plaque!

I arrived there on a nice tranquil summer’s evening. I picked a great night to go as I was there on the day of the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of the 1st World War, and the Welsh National Service of Remembrance was being held that night in Llandaff Cathedral.

Look, they're waiting for the action!

This location was used in the episode The Eleventh Hour (2010) under the name of Leadworth, the home of Amelia Pond.  This was where the newly-regenerated Doctor first met Amy and he investigated the village to find Prisoner Zero to save the world from incineration by the Atraxi!  When he met young Amy she was worried about the crack in her wall. Did you know that Steven Moffat came up with the idea after looking at a crack in his ceiling?

Once I got to the middle of Llandaff I saw some  kids playing football in the cathedral green where the Raggedy Man first met Rory. I asked them if I could play and I got a match! I didn’t score any goals but I got an assist, so that was good. It was a great match that I really enjoyed playing even though the team that I was on lost.

Any sign of Prisoner Zero?

The green seemed much smaller than on the TV. There was no sign of the duck-pond without any ducks! That was just built for the episode and is not there in real life. There was no exploded phone box either – lots of details were added to make Llandaff look like a typical English village.

No ducks in the duck pond. Or a pond!

At one end of the green is a very special statue which is the Llandaff War Memorial created by Sir William Goscombe John. It is called The Memorial Group,  and used to be called ‘The Departure’. There are three stones with a female figure in the middle, which represents Llandaff, and beside her is a workman, representing the village, and a cadet representing the school.  You will recognise this statue from The Family of Blood ( 2007) when Tim Latimer attends a Remembrance Day Service as an old man, watched at a far distance by the Tenth Doctor and Martha.

The Memorial Group

After the match I went to walk around the cathedral whilst the World War 1 Commemoration preparations went on inside! I saw some people filming outside of the church for BBC  and ITV News as I walked around to tire my feet out. It was fun exploring about the grounds and watching the guests arrive for the service.

ITV News. Woooh!

There was no sign of Prisoner Zero or a giant Atraxi eye floating above the spire! Llandaff Cathedral is also the location of the wedding of John Smith ( the Tenth Doctor) and Nurse Redfern in the Family of Blood ( 2007) and of course is it the Church of Auvers from Vincent and the Doctor (2010) where the Eleventh Doctor, Vincent and Amy confront the lonely Krafayis. Luckily there was no sign of the Krafayis either!

Llandaff Cathedral

After I left Llandaff I returned to my hotel to watch the church service that was broadcast live on S4C. It was led by the Archbishop of Wales. We kept our lights out along with the rest of the nation as a mark of respect because 100 years ago the Foreign Secretary sadly said

“The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our life-time.”

My heart goes out to all the people that fought and lost loved ones in the war.

The Eleventh Hour White House

My first anniversary of blogging will come soon and to celebrate Project Indigo’s first birthday I will be holding a mega epic competition; please don’t miss it!I’m welling up with excitement and can’t wait to tell you about it!

Thanks for reading ! Gooooodbuy!

Skenfrith, Monmouthshire – August 2014

In the Castle Grounds .Hello – is this a dream or is it reality? I don’t know, you choose!

Today we are travelling back in time again to my summer holiday in Wales, and visiting Skenfrith – a filming location for the Eleventh Doctor episode Amy’s Choice ( 2010).

Before we start I would like to tell you two facts I have learnt this week. Firstly I became Kids Blog Club‘s first ever Kid Blog Star of the Week which was quite good. What am I saying? It was AMAZING! Secondly, Project Indigo has now reached 10,000 views. Woooh – hooo! Thank you all so much for helping me do this, I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventures so far and will keep reading about them in the future.

No old people coming from Sarn today!

Now, time to get on with the post. Skenfrith is a small village near Abergavenny in Monmouthshire, South East Wales and is  close to the English border. On the way there my TARDIS got stuck on a never ending muddy road and it took me a while to find it! When I landed my TARDIS I could recognise that I was in Upper Leadworth where Amy is pregnant and Rory has a pony-tail. Or is it? Are they just dreaming? Are they in Leadworth or are they in the TARDIS slowly freezing to death?  Luckily for me there was no sign of the Dream Lord when I visited – or was there? I don’t know! It was all so confusing, just like in the episode.

When I parked my TARDIS it was right opposite Sarn,the Residential Care Home where the Eknodines lived in disguise as VERY old people.

Still no one coming out...

Straight away I went across to Skenfrith Castle, or what is left of it. In Amy’s Choice this is where the children were playing on a school trip. The Doctor, Amy and Rory fell asleep and woke up to find the children have been turned to dust! I was pretty brave to go there, wasn’t I?

No piles of dust left . Or play things .

The play park was not there anymore which was a shame as I was looking forward to playing on the swings like the Doctor, and saying ‘bow-ties are cool!’. But there was a mysterious circle in the grass, maybe the ghost of a roundabout?

Mysterious circle ... what will it do ?

Skenfrith Castle is managed by CADW and the National Trust and it is free to explore. It is in the centre of Skenfrith on the banks of the River Monnow.

Welcome to Skenfrith Castle !

Along with White Castle and Grosmont Castle it is one of the ‘Three Castles’ in the Monnow Valley built during the Norman Conquest. It was probably built in the early 13th Century by Hubert de Burgh.

Here is the Great Tower , everyone !

It was fun exploring the ruins and it was amazing to be in an 800 year old ex-building!

My only escape is climbing !

Next I explored the village which the Doctor raced around in a camper van rescuing the young people. Much of the village is built with stone that was originally used to build the castle! It was so quiet and peaceful that I did not see anybody – perhaps the Eknodines had come back?

Look out for a mad man in a camper van!

In the middle of the village stands St Bridget’s Church which was consecrated in 1207. This medieval church is one of the oldest in Monmouthshire. The original altar stone was hidden in the church floor to protect it during the Reformation!

It was at this spot beside the church where the Doctor realised that ‘this one is going to be tricky!’  It was a little bit tricky, yeah!

This one is going to be tricky !

I spent a bit of time looking for the Doctor’s ‘nice benches’ where he, Amy and Rory  kept nodding off- there were lots of benches to choose from so I tried them all wondering which one was the one. I might not have found it but it was worth a try! For such a small village there were A LOT of benches!

Trying out a bench....

I had such a nice time in the beautiful village of Skenfrith, it was great and I really felt as if I was in Upper Leadworth. I kept imagining that I was in a dream and the Doctor would walk round the corner at any moment!

Thank you for reading about my Skenfrith adventure, I hope to see you back again soon.

Night night, sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite! Sweet dreams!

Coventry, West Midlands and Warwick, Warwickshire – January 2015

 

All Hallows Street

Happy New Year everyone!

This is my first post of 2015 and I hope it is a good one! On New Years Day I went on a short holiday to Warwick and while I was there I wanted to visit some Doctor Who locations around those parts. I went on to the fact-filled Doctor Who – The Locations Guide and discovered that filming for The Shakespeare Code (2007) had taken place in the area!

I had already been to The Globe Theatre and now was my chance to explore more locations from The Shakespeare Code. I had only just finished learning about the Tudor times at school so this was a surprise for me and I was excited about seeing some real Tudor buildings.  The Shakespeare Code was Martha’s first time-travel adventure with the Doctor and he took her to Elizabethan London in 1599.

Welcome to Cheylesmore Manor House

My first stop was Cheylesmore Manor in Coventry which was very easy to find as it was very close to where I parked my TARDIS! Cheylesmore Manor is now part of Coventry Register Office and while I was there people were arriving for appointments. What a cool place to have your wedding photos taken, it is the oldest Register Office building in the whole country and opened as a Register Office in 1968.

The current building is only part of the original manor house. It was first built in 1237 for the Earl of Arundel  and was then owned by Queen Isabella, Edward II’s wife before passing to her son Edward the Black Prince.

The Carrionite's house and famous window!

I could immediately recognise the building as All Hallows Street, home to the Carrionites.  I was most excited to see the window which Lilith leaned out of to watch Wiggins sing to her. Later in the episode she escapes out of the window with her doll of the Doctor leaving him for dead, and levitates outside . Luckily there weren’t any psychokinetic Carrionites around while I was there!

Welcome to Ford's Hospital, a place which is obviously Tudor !

Next I found my way to Ford’s Hospital, a few streets away. The exterior was used for The Elephant Inn where Shake-a- spear stayed. Ford’s Hospital was built in 1509 by local merchant William Ford. It was constructed as almshouses for men and women. An almshouse is a house which is funded by charity for poor people to live in, usually elderly people who can no longer work.

After 1800 it became a home for women only. Unfortunately the building was hit by a bomb during World War 2 and sadly eight people died. The building was restored in 1953 using original materials.

You can see through to the courtyard which was used in the episode as an Elizabethan street although I didn’t go in because it is private and still used as sheltered accommodation. If you would like to see some photos taken during filming please see the Historic Coventry website.

It must be so cool to live in an original Tudor building! I wonder what William Ford would say if he knew his almshouse would still be there in 500 years?

After Ford’s Hospital I spent a few hours exploring Coventry.

TARDIS at Coventry Transport Museum

In the afternoon I went to the Coventry Transport Museum and I found a tiny Time And Relative Dimension in Space! The TARDIS was part of a big collection of models collected by a collector called Tibor Reich and has been shown on Blue Peter. If you ever get a chance to go this great museum see if you can spot the TARDIS too!

Welcome to Lord Leycester Hospital!

Late that afternoon I returned to Warwick and went to The Lord Leycester Hospital.  Like Ford’s Hospital it is not a hospital for sick people as we would know it, the word ‘hospital’ meant “a charitable institution for the housing and maintenance of the needy, infirm or aged” in Tudor times.  The buildings date back to the 14th Century but became a retirement home for old warriors during Elizabethan times. Even today the building still provides homes for ex-servicemen and their wives.

I recognised that this was the location where the TARDIS and the Doctor and Martha arrived in Elizabethan London and Martha asked “when are we?” – a useful time-traveller phrase which she used for the first time.  They narrowly avoided being covered in pee when someone emptied their chamber pot out of the upstairs window!

The outside of the building was used for the street scenes and the area outside the Elephant Inn. The Doctor and Martha were chased back there by Queen Elizabeth I’s guards and the TARDIS was hit by arrows ( like in Robot of Sherwood (2014)!) but luckily the TARDIS de-materialised in time!

I had a great day in Coventry and Warwick and hope you enjoyed reading about it. I hope I can go back that way another time and check out more Doctor Who filming locations. Thanks for reading and I hope you come back soon to check out more of my adventures through time and space!

Parting is such sweet sorrow! Goodbye!

Southerndown Beach, The Vale of Glamorgan – August 2014

Can you see the Atlantic behind me?Hei og velkommen tilbake!

Sorry it has been a long time since my last post but it has been Christmas and I have been pooped out! Now I am back blogging and back in the flow of blog. I hope you have had a good Christmas and enjoyed watching the Doctor Who episode Last Christmas (2014)!. I can’t believe we have to wait months now for the new Doctor Who series which will open with The Magician’s Apprentice. Anyway, back to the post…

Doomsday

You may notice I greeted you in Norwegian – this is because we are travelling back in time to August 2014 when I visited Darlig Ulv Stranden in Norway – also known as Bad Wolf Bay! Not really, it is actually Southerndown Beach on the Welsh Coast which has been the filming location of several Doctor Who episodes, most famously Doomsday (2006) where the Tenth Doctor burnt up a sun just to say goodbye to Rose.

Welcome to Southerndown Beach

I visited Southerndown Beach on a beautiful summer’s evening just before sunset. The beach is officially known as Dunraven Bay and it is near the town of Bridgend. I arrived as people were leaving and the beach was almost deserted so I could run about freely and explore the picturesque scape. The weather was mild and the sun was glimmering off the sea. I could recognise straight away that this was used for Bad Wolf Bay as it looked just like it did on the screen . I could see where Rose and her family travelled to meet the Tenth Doctor’s hologram in Norway . It was also where he said goodbye to Rose for the final time in Journey’s End (2008) – leaving her with his clone who had one life, one heart so that they could grow old together! It was awesome to be there because these scenes are so iconic.

Bad Wolf Bay

I explored all around.The tide was out which meant that I could climb all over the rocks. It was like walking on the surface of an alien planet. In one rock pool I found a mysterious object that looked like it was part of an engine – could it have been the engine of the Byzantium that crashed in The Time of Angels (2010)? This beach was used as the location for the planet Alfava Matraxis in this episode. Luckily there was so sign of any Weeping Angels left behind because I blinked a billion times whilst I was there!

Was this left behind by The Byzantium?

The coast is Jurassic and guess what that leads us to? I’ll give you a clue – it lived in the Jurassic period. That’s right, dinosaurs! You will also recognise this filming location from the episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship (2012). I didn’t see any pterodactyls but the beach is a site of Special Scientific Interest and there are many fossils such as ammonites  and Devil’s Toenails to be seen. People should not disturb them though and should leave them where they are for others to enjoy.

You can see millions of years of history here

This looks like an alien planet

I  took the time to write Project Indigo and Doctor Who in the sand and watched the Atlantic crash on to the beach. My shoes got filled with sand! I had a fantastic time at Bad Wolf Bay – this is a great place for any Doctor Who fan to visit. For more info on what has been filmed here please check out  Doctor Who – The Locations Guide.

Promoting Project Indigo!

This is the last post I am writing in 2014 but there will be more to come in 2015 – I have had so many adventures this year that I haven’t told you about yet so we will still travel back in time to 2014! Thank you to all my readers for a wonderful year – this blog has meant so much to me and I can’t wait to see what next year brings.

Ha en Godt Nyttår ! Farvel !

This is a panoramic shot of Southerndown Beach. But who's shadow is that?

Warmwell Quarry, Dorset – October 2014

Welcome!
Welcome!

Roll Up Roll Up and welcome to Warmwell Quarry – scene of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy! (1988).

I was lucky enough to visit this private quarry and have an exclusive tour – the filming location for my favourite Doctor Who episode ever.The Greatest Show in the Galaxy is my favourite episode because it is fun, adventurous and the theme of the story is very interesting to me – and of course it features the Seventh Doctor (one of my two favourite Doctors!) and Ace.

Warmwell Quarry is near Dorchester in Dorset and is owned by Aggregate Industries UK. Sand and gravel is extracted from the quarry but this is due to finish in 2017. A company called Habitat First Group is going to develop the area into a holiday resort and nature reserve called Silverlake so I was really pleased to get the chance to see the location before it changed forever.

When I arrived I was happily greeted by Peter Mole, the Quarry Manager. He took me to his office and showed me a presentation about the quarry and it’s history and lots of photographs. Gravel and sand from the quarry has been used for many things including sports pitches and was even used to help build The Olympic 2012 Park. Peter then told me that the quarry was also used in the final Classic Doctor Who episode Survival (1989)as the Cheetah Planet – I was surprised as I didn’t know this before I arrived.

Muddier on the inside!

Next we went off to explore the quarry – I left my TARDIS behind and went in the site car which was really mucky with mud and sand from the quarry all over it! First we went to see part of the site that was used for filming Doctor Who. It is over 20 years since the filming took place so the quarry looked very different. It was less rocky and wasn’t dry – it was filled with lakes so it didn’t look much like the planet Segonax but it was very beautiful.  Segonax was always very bright but it was a wet day when I visited. Soon there will be holiday homes beside this Silverlake – it would be so cool to have a home looking out on an alien planet!

You can see why this will be called Silverlake

Luckily I was wearing wellies as it was really squelchy and my feet were sliding around like I was on ice. I was also wearing a hard hat and a high-vis jacket as it is a very dangerous zone. Peter was wearing an orange jumpsuit that looked just like the Doctor’s spacesuit!

Showing off my safety gear.

Can you see the lake poking out?

Next I was lucky enough to get a ride in something big – I’ll give you a clue. IT IS BIG! That’s right – a huge dumper truck. I had to do a little bit of climbing and then there was a big rocky ride in store for me. Another Peter was driving the truck – he has worked at the quarry for many years and was there whilst the episodes were being filmed and met the cast and crew but doesn’t remember much as it was so long ago! It was very high up in the truck and there was a big vibration going through my body. A digger loaded the dumper and we set off for the sorting plant to unload the truck. I had planned to take a lot of photos from the truck but the battery in my camera went, sadly. The vibration was so noisy it was giving me a headache but it was really good fun. When it was time to climb down my legs were like jelly!

That was a smashing ride.

After that adventure we went to see the woods which were used during World War 2 by RAF Warmwell . The area was used by the Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces Ninth Air Force from 1937 -1946. We saw where the Spitfires would have been kept under cover of the trees to keep them safe from view. We also saw the entrance to an underground bunker where the airmen took cover. The bunker is surrounded by barbed wire to keep people and animals out in case the bunker collapses. The airmen must have been scared inside the bunker, they were very brave. It looked very dark and frightening – I wonder if there were bats inside?

Through the woods we got another close-up view of the filming location- the quarry has changed so much. It looks like the Seventh Doctor just missed out on finding the green bit of Segonax that he was looking for. Luckily there was no sign of the Gods of Ragnarok or the Cheetah People when I visited.

We then went to another part of the quarry which has been left for many years to return to nature. The ground was jagged like a lunar landscape and trees were growing out at different degrees. In the old days quarried ground would be left as it was but nowadays quarry owners work to restore the land once they have finished with it so it can be used for other things, and to leave a nice habitat for the wildlife. Many animals live on the land and when I was there I saw pheasants and other types of bird and I just missed out on seeing a deer. Adders live there too but I was pleased not to see one – I think they were in hibernation.

I then went to the sorting plant and saw how the sand and gravel is sorted by size. It is then sent off to be used for building or bagged up and sold in DIY shops!

Sorting the sand

Finally I explored a secret part of the woods – and discovered a Roomoon for the very first time. A Roomoon is a very special lightweight hanging canvas tent based on the shape of an onion. I pulled a chain to yank myself up into the trees and it felt so safe and cosy inside – it felt great to be up high and I didn’t want to come back down.

To finish off I would like to thank Peter Mole and Peter for showing me around Warmwell Quarry – I had a fab time and would love to have more adventures like this in the future. I really appreciate all the time and effort put into giving me and my companions such a good tour of the site. Thank you both so much!

With Peter Mole, the Quarry Manager

I hope you have enjoyed this post all about this Classic Doctor Who location and there are still many locations left to come. I hope you come back and read about my next adventure.

Goodbye!

Neath Abbey, Neath Port Talbot – August 2014

This feels cosyCroeso nol !

I am saying ‘Welcome Back’ in Welsh because we are travelling back in time and space again to Wales in August 2014. This time we are at Neath Abbey in the town of Neath which has been used as the filming location for several Eleventh Doctor episodes.

Croeso a Abaty Nedd

Neath Abbey is close to Neath but it feels away from it all and it is a very tranquil place to visit. It is managed by CADW who protect Wales’ heritage – CADW is a Welsh word meaning ‘to keep or protect’.

Neath Abbey is 885 years old and was first established all the way back in 1129AD by the Norman Richard de Granville for Savigniac Monks from Western Normandy in France. It became a Cistercian monastery in 1149. The abbey remained open until 1539 when the Tudor King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries. The abbey is now fallen into ruins but you can use your imagination to feel what it was like to be there when it was the largest abbey in Wales.

What is that?

When I visited it was very peaceful and I was alone with my companions. The weather was mild, ideal for exploring the area where, in Vincent and the Doctor (2010), Vincent van Gogh fought the Krafayis – a monster only he could see! Luckily,there was no alien there when I visited. Or was there…?

The Control Room in The Beast Below (2010) was also located in Abaty Nedd (what Welsh people would call it) where the Doctor and Liz 10 looked at the brain of what keeps the Starship UK up in space – a Star Whale which was the last of it’s kind !

Also , the Gangers in the two- part episode The Rebel Flesh and the Almost People (2011) used a machine in one of the chambers of the monastery they worked in to turn the Flesh into Gangers – again, filmed here at the abbey.

I could not recognise any of these scenes; the abbey looked a lot different in real life. The cast and crew must have transformed the whole place to film these episodes! There were also barriers all over the site as the horrible weather we had in the winter damaged the walls and they were not safe. CADW are working to save the abbey from further damage.

I spent my time there trying to picture what the abbey would have looked like before it was dissolved and it was, as historian John Leland put it “the fairest abbey of all Wales.” I like visiting ruins because I like to put myself in the same places where history has been made! I think the building is in very good condition for it’s age really. I did make friends as I came out – with a lovely brown dog. We had a fun game of ‘fetch’ and apparently he goes to the abbey everyday for his walk so if you go I hope you bump into him.

And no , that ISN'T the Dartmoor Hound !

I suggest that all Doctor Who fans should definitely go and visit – it is a great place and it’s free to get in!

Thanks for reading – my next post will be about an exclusive Classic Doctor Who location that I was lucky enough to visit at the weekend. I hope you come back and check it out!

Dewch yn ol yn fuan!

Hound Tor, Dartmoor, Devon – September 2014

Don't jump!

(UPDATE – Uh-oh, TARDIS Malfunction. One of my readers told me that I actually landed at Haytor, not Hound Tor. Looks like I visited the wrong bit of Dartmoor, guess I will have to go back again one day. )

Surrender to the glory of the Sontaran Empire!

Help! There’s a Sontaran in my house whilst I write this. ‘Take that!’ A bosh on the head. Phew, it’s just disappeared through the floor. It must have followed me back from Hound Tor in Dartmoor where The Sontaran Experiment (1975) was filmed….

Hound Tor was the filming location for Picadilly Circus in the year 16087! In this episode the Sontarans were experimenting on humans. The Fourth Doctor, Sarah and Harry teamed up with some GalSec colonists who were stranded on Earth to defeat the Sontaran, Styre. Luckily when I went there was no sign of any Sontarans taking people away to experiment on!

Welcome to Dartmoor!

When I went on my adventure I left my TARDIS at the bottom of the hill and walked up to take a look at Hound Tor. No Sontarans about but plenty of Dartmoor ponies! The ponies were dark and majestic and were not frightened of the humans all around. The hill was very steep and the ground was very slanted and bumpy. Luckily when I got to the top I was as fit as a fiddle, but my companions were out of puff.

At the top of the hill is the rock pile that is said  to have been the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s book ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ and in fact that episode of Sherlock was filmed here too! Sherlock Holmes was the detective created by Arthur Conan Doyle and The Sontaran Experiment’s Script Editor was Robert Holmes! Spot the difference! What a coincidence.

Enjoying the view

The area was first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as ‘Hundatora’ and is believed to have taken its name from the word ‘hound’. There was a rumour that ‘The Hound’ was a dog that had been changed to stone by some witches! Lots of people think it is a place of mystery and some people are scared of it and believe they have seen ghosts. I didn’t see any ghosts of any description when I was there.

 

I felt as if it was deserted as there was hardly anyone to be seen for miles. There were some climbers who had a lot of gear and were climbing the hard side. They could have just walked up the back! The views were amazing and it gave me a burst of joyfulness to be there.

Looks like an entrance to a whole new world!

 

 

I explored all around before I climbed to the top of the rock! I found it really easy climbing up the rock and soon reached the tip-top. It was as windy as an air tunnel and the air rushed around my nose and ears turning them into the colour of a Violet. It was a great view, I could see a lot of horses and the moor which was gigantic and stretched out as far as the eye could see. The people in the distance looked like ants. I felt like Superman at the top.

This is a great view!

I really didn’t want to come down as I was having a great time at the top. I almost wanted to jump down but it was too high. I started to walk down but the rock was jagged and bumpy under my feet and I felt as if I would slip down. I had to be slow and steady.

On the way back to the TARDIS

Then it was back to back to my TARDIS and on to another adventure. I can’t wait to go back to Dartmoor and explore there another time – maybe then I will get a glimpse of the Beast of Dartmoor?

Thanks for reading and see you very soon. Right, I’m going off to play with my grenades.

Bye!