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Conisbrough castle

Location: Between Doncaster and Rotherham
Features: Fantastic keep - not much else
Facilities: Toilets, shop
Entry Charges: Normal English Heritage charges apply
Website: Official Website

Conisbrough Castle is an amazing little gem, tucked away in South Yorkshire between the well known tourist centres of Doncaster and Rotherham. It's quite easy to find, being on the A630 a few miles from junction 36 of the A1(M) 

Conisbrough Castle Keep It's a real shame about the location, because if this were in The Dales or down South, it would be a massive attraction. As it is, the castle attracts remarkably few visitors, and I doubt if many of them ever return.

The castle features heavily in Ivanhoe as the home of Athelstane, and the local council have tried to exploit that connection for all they're worth, but "romantic" and "Doncaster" aren't words you expect to hear in the same sentence.

So what is there to see. Well, there's The Keep, The Keep and The Keep. That's it really. There is a curtain wall and some grounds that would be nice for a picnic, but the rest of the castle takes about five minutes to look round. But who cares, because The Keep is one of the best in England.  It's round, which is unusual enough, but it's supported by six massive buttresses giving it an octagonal appearance from a distance. The official guide leaflet describes it as "by far the finest of its type in England" - but it would be more accurate to describe it as the only one of its type in England. It's absolutely unique, looks amazing from a distance and is equally spectacular close up.

The castle was built in the 12th century by the Warrenne family, big buddies of the ruling Plantagenets, but eventually passed to the crown where it fell into deacy by the time of Henry VIII. That's lucky really, for if it had been in good repair it would probably have been sleighted during the Civil War and the keep would be just another ruin.

So what of this magnificent keep. Well the walls are 15 feet thick at ground level, and as a defensive measure entry is at the first floor. Fortunately it was given a roof in the 1990's, and you can now climb to the top to get an incredible view. But the trouble is, the view's a bit grim and grimy. The pits have gone now, but you're stil looking over council estates and a semi built-up area. The natural comparison is with the view from the top of Richmond Castle, and it just doesn't measure up to that.

But overall, it's absolutely unique and well worth a visit for anyone who likes castles. And it's near Magna so could easily be combined with a day out there.

Conisbrough Castle
Comments (1)
That is so awsome did you really see that castle in real life
posted by Brenda 07/05/2010 16:10:14
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