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The 'Great Lake' at Castle Howard
The 'Great Lake' at Castle Howard

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Route No. 200 - Monday 30 October 2006
Circuit outside the grounds
of Castle Howard - 6km
Howardian Hills . . .

Map OS Explorer 300 Howardian Hiils & Malton
Route Map on 'Landranger' base from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth


Coneysthorpe village
Coneysthorpe village

This morning I had a few jobs to do so it was after lunch when I drove out to the little parking area opposite the end of the 'Great Lake' at Castle Howard, map ref. SE 707712. I set off just after 2.00pm and walked along the road through Coneysthorpe village to map ref. SE 713712.

A 250 year old oak
A 250 year old oak
Parkland trees showing a clear browse line where the cattle can't reach any higher
Parkland trees showing a clear browse line where the cattle can't reach any higher

Sweet Chestnut tree in Ray Wood
Sweet Chestnut tree in Ray Wood

It seems strange to think of these living things growing in their allotted spots for hundreds of years hardly noticing our frantic lives scurrying on around them.

Here I turned right off the road to follow the path through the parkland of Castle Howard. It's the trees on this walk that I find so facinating.

Another old oak tree in Ray Wood
Another old oak tree in Ray Wood (about 250 years old)

Oak trees on the edge of Ray Wood
Oak trees on the edge of Ray Wood

The Temple at Castle Howard
The Temple at Castle Howard

From there I followed the wall of the Castle Howard grounds up the hill to the 'Temple'. From the Temple I walked down the slope to cross the ornamental bridge at map ref. SE 723697.

I followed the path through Ray Wood, where there are some magnificent old oaks, to map ref. SE 722703.

The Mausoleum at Castle Howard
The Mausoleum at Castle Howard

The ornamental bridge at Castle Howard
The ornamental bridge at Castle Howard

A view of Castle Howard house through the trees from the bridge
A view of Castle Howard house through the trees from the bridge

I continued along the track from the bridge to join the farm access road at map ref. SE 722692. Here I turned right to walk along the road to the gate-house at map ref. SE 710695.

The pyramid, yet another of Castle Howard's follies
The pyramid, yet another of Castle Howard's ornamental follies

The gate-house on the avenue at Castle Howard
The gate-house on the avenue at Castle Howard

Looking down the avenue to the obilisk at Castle Howard
Looking down the avenue to the obilisk at Castle Howard

On the far right-hand side of the wide grass verge of the avenue is a lovely path under the lime trees.

At the gate-house I turned right again to walk down the long avenue of tall lime trees for about 2km back to the car park.

Footpath under the lime trees beside the avenue at Castle Howard
Footpath under the lime trees beside the avenue at Castle Howard

The evening sunshine was providing some interesting lighting over the lake and Castle Howard House as I came to the end of a very pleasant afternoon walk of about 6km. The walk had taken me just under 2 hours.

The obelisk at Castle Howard
The obelisk at Castle Howard

Footpath under the lime trees beside the avenue at Castle Howard
Footpath under the lime trees beside the avenue at Castle Howard

One of the lovely lime trees in the Avenue at Castle Howard
One of the lovely lime trees in the Avenue at Castle Howard
Evening sunshine on the trees at Castle Howard
Evening sunshine on the trees at Castle Howard

The 'Great Lake' at Castle Howard
The 'Great Lake' at Castle Howard

Castle Howard house across the lake
Castle Howard house across the lake

A younger oak tree near the car park
A younger oak tree near the car park ( about 100 years old)

Background Notes:
This walk is a gentle circular family walk of about 6km, 4 miles, around the outside of the grounds of Castle Howard between York & Malton. There's a large free car park at Castle Howard next to the obelisk on the long straight drive, called 'The Great Avenue'. There is a courtyard with toilets, shops and a cafe. If you want to go inside the grounds or House the entrance ticket kiosk is there too, so it's a good place to start and finish the walk. There are a number of ancient oak trees in the car park. The house and grounds were laid out under the direction of Sir John Vanburugh in the early 1700's so these trees are at least 300 years old but look as though they could be considerably older than that. From the car park we walk out to the obleisk and turn down the long avenue of lime trees. There are two rows of limes on either side of the long drive and there's a footpath between the two rows of limes to the right of the drive. The whole idea of the grand estates of the 1700's was to impress everybody. The approach to the stately home along the drive passes through mock defensive walls and gateways and with tantalising glimpses of large follies in the distance. Our walk takes us past several of these follies and ornamental features of the landscaped grounds of Castle Howard. We follow the path between the limes and then along the drive past the great lake on the right with a view back to Castle Howard itself on the hill top overlooking the lake. We turn off the drive to walk through the estate village of Coneysthorpe. Just through the village we turn off the road to follow a track across the fields to Ray Wood. Again across the fields and in Ray Wood there are some lovely ancient oak trees perhaps a little younger at about 300 years than to those in the car park. From Ray Wood we follow a public footpath around the outside of the outer wall of the Castle Howard grounds climbing up a slope to "The Temple of the Four Winds". This is one of the follies designed to enhance the landscaped parkland. It was used as an elaborate summer house with servants rooms below for the preparation of food which was served to the family and guests in the rooms above with their views over the parkland. From the Temple our walk drops down to a Roman style bridge over a small stream that has been widened into a series of pools separated by wiers. This whole artificial riverscape provides both a pretty walk and a view to be seen from the house. Away on the low hill to the left of the bridge is The Mausoleum. This structure was built in the 1730's and since then it has been used as the official burial place of the Howard family. Our walk continues across the Roman style bridge and up to a narrow farm access road. We walk along this road towards a gate house and on our left is yet another of the follies, this time a pyramid, it seems with no other purpose than to be a rather impressive garden ornament, but apparently the pyramid is hollow and contains a large bust of the Elizabethan Lord William Howard, the head of the Howard dynasty. A little way beyond the Pyramid we come to the mock battlements and gate house on our left. These were designed to impress guests arriving along the 5 mile long straight drive lined with limes and beech trees. At the gate house which in the mid 1700's was used as an inn, we turn to walk along the avenue between the lime trees back to the car park and the end of our walk.

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