Howardian Hills Walks
Around Castle Howard
Date: 13th Nov 2012
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Start Grid Ref: SE721680
An interesting ramble around the outskirts of the Castle Howard estate between the villages of Welburn and Coneysthorpe.
Route Summary: Welburn - Moor Houses - Obelisk - Great Lake - Coneysthorpe - Ray Wood - East Moor Banks - Welburn
1. Looking back towards Welburn from above Moor Houses
2. One of a number of mock towers on the estate
3. The impressive Gate House with the Obelisk in the far distance
4. Looking south along The Avenue towards the Carlisle Memorial Column
5. Castle Howard from the Great Lake
6. The village green in Coneysthorpe
7. The path leading in to Ray Wood
8. Autumn colours in Ray Wood
9. The Temple of the Four Winds
10. New River Bridge
11. Castle Howard from New River Bridge
12. The Mausoleum from New River Bridge
Walk Detail: I took the route for this walk from 'Howardian Hills' one of Paul Hannon's excellent guides in the 'Walking Country' series. This was only my third visit to the Howardian Hills AONB ('Hills' is a bit of a misnomer) and what attracted me to this route was the chance to see some of the impressive estate around Castle Howard, one of the finest stately homes in the country.
The route did not include the home itself or the inner grounds but instead skirted around the outskirts of the estate between the two attractive villages of Welburn to the south and Coneysthorpe to the north. On the whole the walking was either on firm tracks, good verges and a bit of road walking. Two notable exceptions were a field near the start that had recently had its potato crop harvested and was now something of a quagmire and then later a very muddy path through Ray Wood.
During the course of the walk we passed or had a good view of a number of impressive buildings and structures including mock ruins, the gate house, the rather odd Pyramid, the Obelisk (a monument to the victories of the Duke of Marlborough), the Temple of the Four Winds and the Mausoleum. From a number of places we also had good views of the main house itself and we also enjoyed a short spell walking along the northern end of the Great Lake.
It was a slight shame that the lovely autumn sunshine I'd enjoyed on my previous two walks was absent on this one as the grounds, particularly the woodland, would have looked really beautiful with some sun. Unfortunately, though some sunshine was forecast, the sky was almost unremittingly grey all day. Despite this (and the large field full of cows leading to New River Bridge) it was still an absorbing walk and I'd definitely like to visit the house proper one day.
Finally, for anyone who starts a walk in, or who visits, the village of Welburn - make sure you check out 'Pattacakes'! It has a fantastic selection of cakes and tarts. After our walk I enjoyed a huge slice of bakewell tart and Lisa enjoyed some pear and chocolate tart. Highly recommended!