Not too big, not too small – Raglan’s a village with a great sense of community, says Hazel Davies. Here, she tells Sharon Chilcott why it is popular with all ages.
How long have you lived in Raglan?
All my life. My family have lived here for generations – my grandfather, Ivan Davies was a carpenter in the village.
What’s the best thing about living there?
The community spirit; the way the village pulls together and the fact that people are always looking out for you. It also has a lot of facilities for a village. It has a choice of pubs and shops including a butcher, a chemist, a clothes shop and a Nisa convenience store. Raglan also has a hairdressers, where I have been a receptionist for almost 14 years. And there’ s nothing you can’t find in our Post Office; if it’s not there they will get it for you!
What, if anything, spoils it for you?
There’s nothing I don’t like about living here – it’s just such a good community to live in, but it would spoil it for me if it expanded too much.
What sort of people does the village appeal to?
We are a very mixed community. Raglan has a Primary School so it’s attractive to families with young children. There are a lot of older people who, once they have moved here just don’t want to leave. And there are a lot of people, like my own son, who have been brought up in the village and want to stay here. The development of affordable housing means that quite a few local young families have been able to do so.
What’s the most fun you have had at a local event?
Probably at the Raglan Festival – four or five years ago before I joined the organising committee! Now they call me the “bucket lady” because I am there every year collecting money all weekend! It’s a great event – it’s not just music – it’s broader than that. This year we are having a bit of a change and we are closing the high street on Sunday for a street party. We’ll be using a lorry as a stage for live music from 1pm to 8pm and the Beaufort Arms car park is going to be a car-free, child-friendly zone.
In what other ways are you involved in your local community?
I’ve been Vice-Chairman of the Raglan Community Council for about a year.
How would you advise someone new into the area to get to know the locals?
There’s lots going on – the Post Office always has lots of advertisements for groups to join and events to go to.
Where do you go for a spot of “culture”?
I like going to the theatre and shows in Cardiff or Bristol, both easily accessible.
Where would you book up for a celebratory meal?
Well, it’s my son’s birthday next week and we are going to The Cripple Creek out on the Abergavenny Road.
Where would you go for a casual evening out?
I’d probably start with a quiet drink in The Beaufort Arms in the village and then go on to The Ship where, since the new owners have taken over, they have been putting on entertainment and have live music evenings.
If friends with children were staying with you, where would you be most likely to take them?
I think Raglan Farm Park would make a fun outing with children.
What’s the best time of year in your village?
Summer means festival time! There’s the Raglan Festival in June (this year June 8 to 10) and then there’s Raglan Day on August Bank Holiday Monday. That’s organised by the Raglan Festival committee too. I remember going to this as a kid and we brought it back about two years ago as a proper full day event with a parade. It’s fantastic. In mid-August, the festival committee also jointly hosts a charity, ‘Veterans versus Raglan Rovers’ football match. It’s held in conjunction with Raglan Rovers in order to raise money and awareness for them and it’s being held for the third time this year.
Tell me one fascinating fact about Raglan that you don’t think is widely known?
Comedian and TV presenter Alexander Armstrong is related to Edward Somerset, 6th Earl of Worcester who lived at Raglan Castle and is buried at Raglan Church. He was known as Edward the Inventor as he invented what would have been one of the earliest steam engines.
Where would you go to blow the cobwebs away?
I would take my Husky dog for a walk. We are very lucky to have a dog-friendly, family-friendly Healthy Footsteps walk around the village. If I was going further afield, I would go to the Sugar Loaf or Blorenge.
If you were going to splash out on a smart new dress, where would you go to shop for it?
I’d go to Cardiff or Cribbs Causeway near Bristol.
Where do you shop for day-to-day groceries?
There are very few days I don’t go to the local Nisa store for something or other.
If adult friends were staying with you, where would you take them?
I’d show them the village and take them to Raglan Castle and out into the wonderful countryside surrounding us.
Facts and Figures
Raglan is a thriving, historic village, which with its associated wards has a population of around 2000. The village is overlooked by the ruins of a majestic 15th Century castle, the youngest stone-built castle in Wales, which is unusual in being six-sided in shape and unlike traditional castles since its keep is outside the main castle. Raglan is approximately midway between the towns of Monmouth and Abergavenny and has good access to the A40 and A449, bringing Cardiff and Bristol within easy travelling distance. It’s set amidst the rolling Monmouthshire hills, ideal for walkers and country-lovers. For golf enthusiasts, Raglan Parc Golf Course is nearby.