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The setting picked out the edges of the foreground boulders and the statified cliff face at Dunraven Bay on the Heritage Coast of South Wales. On the left hand side of the cliff is the boundary wall of the Dunraven Castle Estate which is now owned by the local council and open to the public.

More a fortified mansion than a castle, it had its own kitchen gardens and landing stage in the bay. It was lived in right up until the 1940’s but was demolished in 1963 as it was crumbling and considered unsafe. Although the Castle is no longer there, the gardens can still be seen. There are many legends of smuggling and deliberate shipwrecking associated with this dramatic spot.

The Legend of Southerndown
The Vaughan Family once lived in Dunraven Castle. The head of the family, Walter Vaughan wasted his entire fortune on fast living and a life of extravagance.

Three of his children drowned in an accident in the nearby sea, so Walter made plans to set up a sea rescue business. Sadly, he was refused permission by the governing body of the time. Walter was so annoyed at this he co-operated with a well-known notorious pirate called ‘Mat of the Iron Hand’ (due to his hooked hand), and helped to organise shipwrecks, which he then plundered for treasure. One of the techniques used was to tie lamps on the tails of his sheep at night. As the sheep wandered along the cliff top, they inadvertently lured the ships to their doom.

His ill-gotten lifestyle came back to haunt him when his sole surviving son became one of the victims of his shipwrecks as he was on his way home from his travels. Who knows if the story is true other than Walter himself, but it is considered fact in the area.

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Additional Photos by Gerwyn Gibbs (gibbsy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 61 W: 0 N: 203] (1438)
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