Places to Visit in North Yorkshire
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Castle Howard Circular Walk

Visit York and North Yorkshire through Video

The video below is pertaining to a Castle Howard Circular Walk of which route begins at the Obelisk at the Castle Howard entrance. It then takes you through fantastic scenery by the Obelisk Ponds, Castle Howard Lake, Coneysthorpe, the Mausoleum, the Temple of the Four Winds, New River Bridge as well as the castle wall and gateway.

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Castle Howard Circular Walk

Finding Castle Howard is extremely easy as its a simple turn off from the A64, either the Slingsby turn off or for Welburn. From Malton, you can just use the Castle Howard Road from just past the War Memorial. If you are travelling by bus, then you would need to use the Castleline from York Station or Malton bus station. Today, I used the Castleline bus but the first bus didn’t turn up but the next one did, so I had a little extra time at Monks Cross Shopping Park where it calls. The Obelisk where we start today helps you find the entrance to Castle Howard. You can park at the large car park and the bus stop is also situated near the Garden Centre. On arrival the car park wasn’t that full but when I returned later it was getting more busy. There is a cafe, so if you want to have a sneaky coffee and a bun then I’m not going to stop you. Especially if you buy me one.

Now I was quite lucky here because I got to see one of my favourite birds the Peacock. I was sort of hoping one would flash his feathers but sadly they were somewhat chaste today.

The Obelisk

Castle Howard Circular Walk

I’m starting the walk at the Obelisk and turning right towards Slingsby. The Obelisk is actually from a Greek word although the monument has an Egyptian origin. You’ll find a lot of Greek references at Castle Howard, especially with the statues. You cannot miss this obeliskos becauses it massive, and can be seen for miles. A roundabout runs around it, but then you could hardly go through it.

There is some text on the monument but I have to admit defeat on what this means. It may as well be in Greek. Anyway, we turn right from the car park and we follow the Roman road that is typically straight. Now don’t say that straight is boring, because this route is amazingly scenic. In fact, I’ve done some very scenic walks in North Yorkshire, but this one is a whole new ball game.

One word of warning is that this road is very busy, so walk on the right hand side and on the grass verge as much as you can. So I’ll just be extremely hypocritical and walk on the left.

Obelisk Ponds

Castle Howard Circular Walk

You’ll eventually come to the Obelisk Ponds which is a conversation area. Today I saw a couple of swans on there in the distance. I love swans, they are very elegant birds except for when they are coming for you. A low bridge travels over the ponds so please be careful when crossing. Me, I placed a tripod on it while it was quiet and took a shot. This one.

Castle Howard is adorned with man made lakes and other water features which adds to its overall beauty and appeal. It certainly bolsters its tranquility too. However, time waits for no one and we continue further by walking on the right hand side and we are looking for a crossroads to turn off to Coneysthorpe.

You’ll see some double gates but this is not where we turn off. As you are walking however, it’s a great idea to look behind and around you from time to time. I always recommend this on any walk because the things you can miss when you have your back to them.

Obviously on your right, and behind you, is Castle Howard but don’t worry if you don’t see it too well at this point because…well, watch this space. As it is a straight Roman road, it doesn’t take too much effort or time to see the crossroads. You’ll notice a property on the left hand side.

The Great Lake

Castle Howard Circular Walk

It also doesn’t take you too long to notice another major attraction. On your right hand side is a large lake and without a doubt attracts waterfowl such as more Swans, but not limited to. This is known as the Great Lake. The swans think its great, the ducks think its great, I think its great, we all think its great. The wood you see in the distance is Ray Wood of which we meet shortly.

At first I thought this tent was plotted somewhere it shouldn’t be and I’m not referring to simply under a tree. Yes the birds would consider it target practice, but in actual fact there is a Lakeside Holiday Park here.

The Village of Coneysthorpe

Castle Howard Circular Walk

When we reach the junction for Coneysthorpe, we take a short stroll down a lane towards the village where my mum and dad spent the first years of their marriage before I popped up. I was raised a few miles away in Hovingham, but I wouldn’t have mind living here!

You’ll meet the junction for the Lakeside Holiday Park and you’ve probably noticed the caravans by now. The village of Coneysthorpe is small but very picture postcard, and in keeping with the area it resides. The cottages are in Yorkshire Stone and look amazing. The cottage on the right with the centred chimney was many years ago a place of dwelling for my parents, lucky devils.

Another feature to Coneysthorpe is the classic phone box that rarely exist these days. At least this one isn’t somewhere to grow tomatoes or feature a defibrillator. You’ll also see some form or outbuildings that belong to the Castle Howard Estate.

Coneysthorpe is kind of a loop with stone cottages and a memorial around it, that stems from the Malton road. This road I travel along on the way to Malton later on a Castleline bus.

Footpath to Welburn and Bog Hall

Castle Howard Circular Walk

At the opposite side of Coneysthorpe there’s a footpath with a sign post to both Welburn and Bog Hall. Bog Hall is kind of a farm so I believe, and this extends your walk to around 7 miles long. However, we are going to follow a shorter route following the signs to Welburn, although we don’t go to Welburn but back to Castle Howard.

The path is more of a bridleway or track, but later it gets a little more tricky, at least it did for me anyway! There’s nothing like building suspense. Actually this walk is very easy to follow in the end.

The route takes you through the Howardian Hills, and I’m not stranger to these especially being raised in Hovingham. I even lived at the foot of one. To say it is an area of outstanding beauty would be an understatement.

Today, the weather is warm and sunny, but the wind picks up and gets to be quite strong further along the walk. I shouldn’t complain because it can go either way in September.

At one point, it almost seemed that the track itself was a Roman road too, and eventually it sort of splits. There is a more grassier route that comes away from the track and I wondered if it was the split I had on the map on my iPhone. The walk by the way you can download from the Castle Howard website. I decided to continue on the track and it took me to the left of a children’s adventure playground. It turned out that I could have walked along the grassy path instead. Never follow a hunch! Still I got the nice views even though!

As a photographer, light means a great deal to me and I naturally look out for lighting all the time. People think I’m bananas but I look out of for sunlight interacting with trees, and landscapes in general. It doesn’t have to be bright sunlight such as today, but sunrise and sunset can create some fantastic light shows that attract the attention of a camera lens and me.

Ray Wood

Castle Howard Circular Walk

Ray Wood sounds like a professional football player, but it is actually the wood alongside Castle Howard. When I reach this wood, this is where I realised I could have just used the grassy path. Still I found a signpost for Welburn which took me away from the safe track I was originally on. The path to Welburn was just slightly overgrown but still manageable and passable.

Fortunately, this challenging path was quite short and I soon managed to get through it. However, reading the map on my iPhone was more of a challenge, especially when it came to understanding where the junction to Centenary Way was. Hmmm.

Besides the waterfowl on the lake close by, no doubt this wood will be the centre of attraction for owls, woodpecker, chaffinch and pigeons. No doubt the park will also attract roe deer as well as badgers and rabbits.

Careful with Your Bottle of Lucozade, There’s a Bull Approaching

Reading my map on my iPhone upside down, doesn’t help to identify were you are. However, after several attempts at tilting my head 180 degrees I managed to find the correct direction.

So according to the map I assumed I was on the Centenary Way from York Minster to Filey. However, that junction was much further on.

The thoughts of being chased across field by a raging bull soon fell at the back of my mind when the stunning Howardian Hills caught my attention. I had no option but to take these shots of this area of outstanding beauty. Outstanding beauty because I’m stood here. I don’t know why you’re laughing.

The Temple of the Four Winds

Castle Howard Circular Walk

The Temple of the Four Winds was designed by Vanbrugh but he never saw it completed as he died in 1726. It wasn’t completed until 1738 when the Stuccoist decorated the interior. The building sounds like a place of worship, but in actual fact it was simply a place for reading and place of refreshment. There is a cellar beneath where the servants would prepare food and drink for the family above. One thing I will say about the Howard family, they know how to live somewhat lavishly. Such an amazing place overall. It must have been a fantastic place to spend time as it overlooks some very scenic views that span into the distance.

This group of people I assume where on a tour, taught by someone who arrived at the Temple of the Four Winds at the same time as I did. Unless they are the servants.

The New River Bridge and Mausoleum

Castle Howard Circular Walk

Seeing the Temple of the Four Winds was outstanding enough but as I said, the Howards know how to live lavishly and this bridge wowed me.

. You also can see this enormous structure on the left of you being the mausoleum. I kind of avoided that like a dairy intolerant down a cheese aisle. Still it was a tremendous and stunning structure. It is raised 90ft in the air and supported by 20 pillars. It is also one of the finest mausoleums of its kind in Europe.

So it comes as no surprise to see this fantastic ornamental bridge. Except it did come as a surprise because I found myself mouthing the expression wow! If you are wondering what river lies beneath the bridge, well you could be here a while. Nope, its not the Derwent. It’s actually an artificial river that runs through Castle Howards gardens. You can see the house from the top of the bridge, and just out of view is the cascade.

It looks like the Four Winds has blown the visitors away, all except one anyway who’s clearing up after them.

Ahead of this fantastic bridge which is totally huge by the way, especially for an ornamental bridge, the path continues in a straight line through agricultural fields until it meets with another road going across, a road by the way which is part of the Centenary Way.

Looking behind you gives you equally stunning views of the fine structures we’ve encountered. In fact, they simply follow us until we reach the Roman road. However, from the other side of the New River Bridge you can see a reedy pool which kind of reminded me of the reeds in the lake at Ampleforth Abbey, although they were much different.

Centenary Way

Castle Howard Circular Walk

As walked away from the bridge or saw signs of life with people walking towards the bridge and also along the Centenary Way. By now, I had began to realise that I wasn’t on the Centenary Way but approaching it and it all began to make sense. Ahead of me was the Pyramid that I could also see on my downloadable map which helped me identify where I was.

At this point, I could have scored this walk a million out of ten as far as scenery was concerned. Perhaps it was helped by the good weather too. In any case, I was bowled over and wondered why I hadn’t done this walk before. I always say this when I’ve done a walk for the first time.

The wind had started to pick up and as you might remember, my lightweight tripod for walking isn’t that great under strong winds, especially if there are four of them. It seemed that the four winds were coming after me now, me and my tripod.

There’s obviously someone else who is barmy when it comes to photography as much as I am. There’s nothing like an overactive shutter finger. I don’t think I’ve got repetitive strain injury in my shutter finger but we’ll have to see what develops. Sssssorry. I do try, I really do.

The harvest has been accomplished but it appears there’s still some baling to be done. Looks like thirsty work so I’ll have a Lucozade Zero on his behalf.

I found myself in this enormous green space, in fact there is an enormous sense of space here, almost similar to that of the Hole of Horcum. And as this is also a new walk to me it was like to boldly go where no man has gone before. Probably Clare’s Accessories.

As you walk along Centenary Way, you start to see signs of the house on your right hand side. It is initially behind a hill but as you walk further along the hill disappears to reveal the house in its fullest. However, this of course is the rear of the house that could be mistaken for the front.

In any case, house or not, the views are simply stunning and it really makes this walk extremely worthwhile. It was obviously popular with walkers too, I should have been selling ice-creams.

Even if you do the Bog Hall version of the route, you still encounter good views of the Temple of the Four Winds, the Mausoleum and the New River Bridge, but I think the way we have done today’s walk is the best way of getting up close to them. I may do the Bog Hall version next year.

The Pyramid begins to get larger as we get closer. It’s recently been restored and was designed by the same designer as the mausoleum, Nicholas Hawksmoor. It’s actually one of Castle Howards most mysterious follies.

Castle Howard

Castle Howard Circular Walk

As I mention, you eventually get to see Castle Howard more clearly as you gradually walk up hill. It may not have been apparent, but we’ve practically satellite this structure from the start.

You can make out some of the statues in the garden such as Silenus who in Greek mythology was connected to the wine God, Dyonisus. And I thought it was Ernest Julio.

You can also see a fight for the pedestal between Hercules and Auticus. Lets hope they don’t receive a Hernius in process.

I did mention that there was a lot of Greek references at Castle Howard. Still, the dome you see actually caught fire in 1940 and was completely damaged. In fact, a third of the roof was taken. It was another twenty years until a full restoration took place although a temporary roof was put in place prior.

Of course, many people recognise it from the Brideshead Revisited fame but I must be honest, I never watched it. Thats the other guy’s stick. I’m more walk around Abbey than Downton Abbey.

It’s like a mausoleum to follow you around like death but I have to admit it’s a fantastic view, if not somewhat macabre. This is why I favour a crematorium.

Still, like life, this walk continues and you’ll be glad it does too. This is one of those walks where you don’t really care about foot fatigue but you just want the scenery to continue.

The Stray Walls

Castle Howard Circular Walk

You soon begin to witness the interval towers of the stray walls that form an attractive approach to Castle Howard from the south along the Roman road where we began our walk. Like the castle itself, Vanbrugh designed the walls, towers and archways in 1723. They make a stunning approach not only to our walk, but to Castle Howard itself.

By this time looking towards the house you get to see some of the other amazing statues including the Atlas Fountain. In fact, you soon realise just how huge this castle is and especially when you include the estate into the equation too.

The Stray Wall was more ornamental than defensive, unlike the York City Walls. Vanbrugh designed to impress not to defend, not in the 1700’s. Still these interval towers look like they had a defensive purpose, perhaps Vanbrugh based his design on York’s walls considering they are only a stones throw away if you pardon the pun.

It’s quite funny how the mausoleum seems to dominate the landscape no matter how far away you are from it. I’m trying not to see it as a metaphor. It certainly impresses from the outside, it makes you wonder what it must be like inside too.

Sometimes you encounter farm traffic along this lane, so you might want to be aware of that if you come here. Perhaps in a future vlog we’ll explore the Centenary Way further. Perhaps from Hovingham or Kirkham Abbey.

However, this lane follows the wall to the very narrow arch through the gatehouse for a want of a better term. How my bus got through here I have no idea but it did. The bus driver slowed right down almost stopped before passing through. I bet he drinks Carling Black Label.

It doesn’t matter which side of it you look, its equally as impressive, and from here you can see the straight road flow over the hills without bending. In fact, they are almost as impressive as the castle itself.

Funny thing was, I’ve never walked through the arch until today. I’ve only been through in a car or bus.

You can see looking south the Earl of Carlisle Monument which is as tall as the Obelisk but it has this fantastic gold crown on the summit. Everything is so over the top here!

Back to the Obelisk

Castle Howard Circular Walk

So I’m heading back to the Obelisk except I can’t seem to find it. Only joking. The Obelisk is enormous and you must be able to see for miles from the top of it, not that anyone should go up there.

I’ve been telling you to walk on the right, but I’m a complete hypocrite and I’m going to walk on the left grass verge to prove its the wrong thing to do. Always a good thing to face oncoming traffic. Sort of anyway.

Swiftly moving to the right hand side, you can see a small bridge of sorts which at the moment has absolutely no water running underneath it. So what do you do with such a bridge as this? Hmmmm.

You can’t help but turn around and watch the cars and vans squeeze through the narrow arch at the top of the hill. It’s similar to pushing your shopping trolley through the checkout. There’s a lot to be said for using a basket.

Ok, the year is 2019, so what do we use folly bridges for in this day and age? Check one’s messages!

Visting Castle Howard

Castle Howard Circular Walk

I haven’t had time today, but Castle Howard has not only a huge stately home to explore but also it enormous gardens as well as Garden Centre. As I mention, there is also a cafe too.

Me however, I have a bus due to Malton, so I had at the very maximum five minutes in the garden centre. I enjoy garden centres even if I don’t need anything. I’ve never really understood that but its true.

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