Raby Castle

Raby Castle

Route: Raby Castle

Area: County Durham

Date of walk: 30th July 2019

Walkers: Andrew 

Distance: 3.5 miles

Ascent: n/a

Weather: Cloudy with sunny intervals

Raby Castle is a place which I’d only vaguely heard of and have never visited until today. It dates back to medieval times and is perfectly preserved, with nine towers set in 200 acres of landscaped deer park. The castle was once home to Cecily Nevill, mother of two kings of England. It was also the scene of the plotting of the Rising of the North and a Parliamentary stronghold during the Civil War. In 1626, Sir Henry Vane the Elder purchased Raby from the Crown. The Vane family still own Raby, the present owner being the 12th Lord Barnard

Not knowing what to expect, I entered the grounds (entry is free to members of Historic Houses) and made my way into the Walled Garden, established in the mid 18th century. The garden is divided into sections, and the highlights include two ancient yew hedges, a beautiful rose garden and some fine herbaceous borders

I then made my way over to the nearby castle and after a brief wander around the interior (far too brief, and I must return), I set off on a walk around the parkland which surrounds the castle. The Deer Park at Raby is home two species of deer – red deer, the largest British wild land mammal, and the smaller fallow deer. Both herds include the descendants of deer which have lived in the park since Norman times

I didn’t have any particular route in mind, and set off towards the two ponds, High Pond and Low Pond. There were several large herds of deer, and although it can’t be predicted where they’ll be on any given day, I’d guess that a sighting is almost certain, such are their numbers

After completing a circuit of the castle I made my way back to the car park to end the visit, my only regret being my belated discovery of this wonderful place

Click here or on the Map Page icon for a Google map (this simply links to the location of Raby Castle – an estate plan with suggested routes is available at the entrance, and it’s best to plan your own route depending on your interests and the location of the deer)

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