Croft Castle, Nr. Leominster, Herefordshire.

The avenues of magnificent chestnut, beech and oak that cradle Croft Castle in their protective embrace, also lend it an air of secrecy.

The de Croft family, for whom the Castle is named, are thought to have arrived here from Normandy during the reign of Edward the Confessor.

Having built their original fortress on the site they continued to embellish it over succeeding centuries. In the 14th century Sir John de Croft married a daughter of the Welsh nationalist Owain Glyn Dwr (1355-1416) and, in the 16th century, with the accession to the throne of Henry V11, Sir Richard Croft became Treasurer to the new monarch’s household and, later, steward to his eldest son Prince Arthur.

During the Civil War, the Crofts fought for Charles 1st and such was their loyalty that they allowed their stronghold to be dismantled to prevent its falling into Parliamentarian hands.

In the mid-18th century, family debt forced them to sell the Castle to Richard Knight of Downton, although the family re-acquired it in 1923.

Although the National Trust now runs it, members of the family still live here and ghosts from its illustrious past still wander its sylvan grounds and stunning interior.

Most famous is the giant of a man, clad in leather, and said to be the ghost of Owain Glyn Dwr himself. His Grace, the Arch Bishop of Sydney, saw him in the early 20th Century.

Of course there are those who would deny that it is possible for Glyn Dwr’s ghost to haunt the Castle, since the place and date of his death remain one of history’s great mysteries.

He is one of those select heroes, who it is claimed never died but sleep at sundry secret locations, waiting the day when their country needs them.