ON June 22 ladies and gentlemen in Victorian dress arrived at Snodhill Castle for a Kilvert Society picnic - a homage to an entry in Reverend Francis Kilvert's Diary entitled "the longest day" about a picnic held in 1870.

Gazebos were erected, chairs unfolded and blankets laid out under the oak trees, maybe the ones Kilvert himself had eaten beneath and admired.

Sue and Mike, catering members, came from Wiltshire, with trays with, as in Kilvert's day "plenty of meat and drink".

As the afternoon drew on Garry Crook, chairman of the Snodhill Castle Preservation Trust, to whom, with Bridie and Mark Dixon, heartfelt thanks are due for hosting the day, led those who wished to, on a guided walk up around the site of the remains of the walls, Pear Orchard and Keep.

Archaeologists are at work at the castle now, thought to be possibly the most important on the Welsh Border, funded by an EU grant which will also help provide green vehicle hard standing on the wide verges above Caboldin Pitch and various wild life provisions.

After the 1870 picnic the group then went on to the Rectory where "after dinner the carpet was taken up in the drawing room and there was a dance on the slippery dark oak floor which was badly scratched and scored by the nailed boots of the gentlemen and some of the ladies"!

No nail boots this time so, for members who had come from far and near, it was tea and cake before the party dispersed replete and with long to be treasured memories of a special day in the long life of the Kilvert Society just 149 years and a day after the original picnic took place.