Corfe Castle, Dorset
Pointing skywards, the ruins of Corfe Castle are a local landmark in Dorset, marking the remains of a castle steeped in royal history. The earliest construction began over one thousand years ago, and in AD 978 Queen Elfrida murdered her stepson King Edward on the steps of the castle to pave the way for her son Ethelred to become king. Over the years this castle hosted royal prisoners like Edward II, and King John (of Robin Hood fame), kept his crown jewels here. During the English Civil War, Lady Bankes defended the castle against sieges in 1643 and 1645.
Although now a ruin, there’s still plenty to see and do at Corfe Castle, including a visitors center, wildlife walks, trails for kids and events like storytelling.
If you want to do your bit for wildlife, here are 15 tips to get you started.
Blickling Hall, Norfolk
An estate at Blickling is mentioned in the Domesday Book (AD 1086), although the current building dates from 1616. The older Tudor house was built by Sir Geoffrey Boleyn, grandfather to Queen Anne Boleyn who was born there. It was then passed down through the Hobart and Kerr families, surviving two fires in the nineteenth century.
Although the Tudor house was rebuilt, you can still see the Tudor moat at Blickling Hall, and you can explore the 4,600 acres of woodland, gardens and farmland. If you’d rather stay indoors, Blickling Hall hosts the National Trust’s largest book collection, with over 12,500 eighteenth-century volumes housed in the Long Gallery.
King Henry VIII had a reputation for making homeowners an offer they couldn’t refuse, and he ‘acquired’ Knole from Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry established a huge deer park for his favorite pursuit of hunting, and the deer park is still there today, however the deer are no longer hunted. They’re tame enough to approach visitors in the hope of a tidbit. Elizabeth I also spent time here, and in time it passed to the Sackville family, becoming home to novelist Vita Sackville-West.
The house at Knole has many artifacts to enjoy, including pieces of furniture from seventeenth-century royal palaces and belongings of the Sackville-West family and Virginia Woolf. And don’t forget to take a climb up to the top of the Gatehouse Tower – it’s worth climbing the steep spiral staircase for the panoramic views.
Having your own deer park is all very well, but most of us prefer to keep deer out of our backyard – here’s how to do it.