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Ten of the Best: Castle Walks

Be it fairytale or gothic revival, turrets or towers, dragon-filled or the home of royalty, castles come in all shapes and sizes. What they all have in common is their imposing outlines sitting in commanding positions, clearly selling the message about the wealth and power of their owners. If you fancy playing royals for the day, we bring you ten of the best castle walks…

 

Castles across the UK have fascinating histories stretching over many centuries. Often used as fortresses in wars and power struggles, it is no surprise that they have enjoyed mixed fortunes. Whilst some are now only haunting ruins, others continue to be the homes of royalty and gentry. Take your pick from our hand-selected favourites and you will enjoy everything from the home of King Arthur or a current royal residence to a fortress dating from the Norman invasion or a modern gothic folly built solely to demonstrate wealth.

peckforton castleBeeston and Peckforton Castles, 4 miles, Cheshire

This walk starts from Beeston Castle, the ruins of a 13th century castle, and heads out across farmland to circle Peckforton Castle, a 19th century country house built in the style of a medieval castle and now operating as a hotel. Both castles are visible for much of the route sitting high on their respective hills giving a real sense of their imposing presence on the area.

Bamburgh Castle and Budle Point, 4 miles, Northumberland

The capital of ancient Northumbria, Bamburgh is notable for three things, all of which you can explore whilst following this route. First, Bamburgh Castle is one of Northumberland’s most iconic buildings and serves as a backdrop to the entire route. Second, the extensive sandy beaches are some of the best in England, ideal for picnics or rock pooling. Finally, the village is the final resting place of Grace Darling, the Victorian heroine famed for participating in the rescue of a shipwreck in 1838.

castell cochCastell Coch Circular, 1.5 miles, Cardiff

Castell Coch is a fantastic Victorian castle designed by William Burges. Built on the ruins of a medieval castle, the name Castell Coch translates in English to Red Castle, taking its name from the red sandstone from which it is built. It is an excellent example of Victorian Gothic Revival. The walk gives you chance to visit the castle as well as the beautiful surrounding beech woodland.

Warwick Waterside, 4.5 miles, Warwickshire

Warwick Castle is a medieval castle developed from an original built by William the Conqueror. The walk explores stretches of the Grand Union Canal and the River Avon as well as passing the historic Warwick Castle and St. John's House Museum near to the centre of Warwick.

warwick castleCastle Hedingham, 4 miles, Essex

This walk starts from the idyllic medieval village of Castle Hedingham, following a loop north into the surrounding arable farmland with the opportunity to visit the namesake Norman Castle. The Norman Keep at Hedingham Castle is the best preserved in England. It was built in 1140 by Aubrey de Vere II, the first Lord Great Chamberlain of England.

Pickering Castle and Newbridge, 2.5 miles, North Yorkshire

The 13th century Pickering Castle was used as a royal hunting lodge, holiday home and a stud farm by a succession of medieval kings. The walk takes you from the centre of the market town, heading north on quiet tracks and through pastures before returning through woodland to reach the castle itself.

arundel castleArundel and Amberley, 12 miles (can be shortened to 7.5), West Sussex

Arundel Castle is a restored and remodelled medieval castle and has served as a home since the 11th century. It has been in the ownership of the family of the Duke of Norfolk for more than 400 years. The walking route allows you to explore the town before taking a riverside journey heading north to Amberley.

Corfe Castle to Swanage, 8 miles, Dorset

This linear walk leads you along the Purbeck Ridge from Corfe Castle to Swanage returning by train on the heritage steam railway. The Isle of Purbeck, whilst not an island, has water on three sides so the route, affording panoramic views of the stunning local coastlines. Early in the walk you will have a wonderful view of the ruins of the 11th century Corfe Castle which perches above the village.

Tintagel and Barras Nose, 3.5 miles, Cornwall

Tintagel Castle is associated with the legends surrounding King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table.  This cliff top route will give you spectacular views across this section of the Atlantic coast, chance to visit the castle itself and of course you’ll also be able to enjoy the famous local myths and legends. 

Windsor Great Park, 5.5 miles, Berkshire

Windsor Castle is perhaps the most famous of all castles, being the largest inhabited castle in the world and one of the main residences of the Queen. This walk explores Windsor Great Park and you’ll have magnificent views of Windsor Castle as well as a chance to see some of the park’s famous statues such as the Copper Horse. 

 

14 February 2017

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