Wednesday 18th September 2002

Weather: Fair but cloudy


A Visit to the Grounds of Castle Howard


 

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Castle Howard is the private home of the Howard family. Ten generations of Howards have lived continuously
in the House since it was built by Charles Howard, 3rd Earl of Carlisle, at the beginning of the 18th century.

Since the 1960s, Castle Howard has been used as a location for many film and television productions.
The house, its interiors and the beautiful grounds are all ideal settings for costume dramas,
feature films and documentaries, the most famous being the TV drama 'Brideshead Revisited' made in 1981.

The view above is looking south across the Great Lake which was created in the 1790's.

 

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From the car park, the main entrance to the grounds is via the stable courtyard - the house, as well as the grounds,
is open to the public, but photographs are not allowed in the house itself, so today I wandered for a couple of hours
around the beatiful grounds taking photographs of the majestic building with its picturesque surrounds.

 

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The walled Rose Garden was laid out in the early years of the 18th century as a kitchen garden - it was doubled in size
later in the century. Today, part of the garden is still given over to vegetables and cut flowers but the remainder of the area
has been transformed into three Rose Gardens. Lady Celia's Garden was established in 1975, dedicated to
the memory of Lady Celia Howard, and is filled with old roses.

 

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The Sundial and Venus Gardens were laid out a few years later, but both were replanted in 1994 and 1995,
and today contain over 2,000 modern roses of all types.

 

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The Rose Garden is a sheltered paradise of colour and intoxicating perfume,
especially during the summer months of June and July.

 

The Grounds at Castle Howard have always impressed visitors with their splendour and variety
- they were originally created from rough grazing land.

The South Parterre was designed and laid out between 1715-1725. Lawns of plain grass were adorned
with obelisks, urns, statues and a 50-foot column. By the 1850's most of these had been removed when
landscape gardener William Andrews Nesfield installed the Atlas Fountain as the centrepiece to the creation
of grass terraces and yew hedges that are visible today.

 

The ornate Atlas Fountain was carved from Portland stone by John Thomas.

 

The grounds and landscape are constantly changing, with spring bulbs, daffodils, roses, herbaceous borders,
and rhododendrons providing a spectacular of colour change throughout the year.

 

While Castle Howard is famous for its 18th century landscape, much of what one sees today
bears witness to Victorian intervention, as well as recent restoration and development.

 

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This twisted old oak tree looked as though it has stood on that same spot for centuries.

 

All the lakes and ponds at Castle Howard are artificial - the South Lake (above), below the Temple Terrace,
was created in the 1720's. At certain times of the day there's a fountain display in the middle of the lake,
the water being gravity fed from a reservoir in Ray Wood, above the terrace to the right.

 

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Continuing along the terrace you reach the Temple of the Four Winds, known originally as the Temple of Diana.
The Temple lies at the eastern end of the terrace and was used as a place for refreshment and reading.
Near to collapse, it was restored in 1955 by George Howard.

 

Wander around - there are many pleasant places to sit and watch the world go by...

 

The grounds are host to a variety of events during the summer months including the annual plant fair,
outdoor concerts, jazz weekends and children's weekend - the concerts take place on the bankside above.

 

The north frontage of Castle Howard...

 

...and the view of the south-west corner.

 

The view back to Castle Howard from near the exit.

 

. location map



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