Sue Spargo, Castle and grounds

I’ve bonded a bit more of Sue Spargo’s “Folklore” and cut out the next circle round. I saw this on Nichi’s blog Quilty Cat and thought “wow got to make this”. There’s no supplier in the UK so I found the Sue Spargo website and bought the book. I am so loving making this between the secret birthday makings.
“A Sunken Garden
Many a garden would gain in interest and appeal by the formation of some appropriate part into such a feature as depicted here.”
Well here’s a place which makes the most of the landscape. I’ve shared a little of the gardens and it’s World Owl Centre, so now I’ll share Muncaster Castle itself.
We go down the drive past the stable courtyard.
It is sited in a good defensive position on the edge of steeply sided hill overlooking the river valley.
We’ll go clockwise round.
Archaeologists have found Roman (79A.D.) camp remains in this corner, but haven’t been allowed to take up the octagonal library floor (straight out of a Cluedo/Clue board game) to examine further. It would’ve been an excellent position for a legionary fort. To read more about the history click here

The ivy covered part contains the Medieval Hall- the oldest part of the castle I think. It is dark inside even though a later bay window has been added. You go up the steps by the blue sign.
This cannon stands just outside.
It is trained on the bridge which is the only crossing point of the river for miles.
This is the only inside pic I could take for you. One of the floor tiles which greets you at the entrance. A black swan. I was stood outside so I wasn’t beeing too naughty. 🙂

Inside there was a tour by the owners of the castle. You were issued with a hand held electronic thingy where you pushed buttons to hear more about a room when you went in. It was more interesting than a lot of signs as it left your eyes free to look around. They often gave you funny tit bits of house gossip that would’ve seemed odd in a more formal setting. I think they were trying to do their best to make you feel like a real guest. You could tell that they really loved the castle which was also their home.

Upstairs was the reputedly haunted “Tapestry Room” as well as family and guest bedrooms which were still in use. They did their best to let people see as much of the castle as possible while still living normal lives, so you did see things like slippers by a chair. It helped to make the castle feel alive which you don’t get with a lot of National Trust places which are kept more museum like.
Round the next side of the castle. These are the more modern additions.
There are 2 lions at the bottom of these steps.
I can just imagine playing croquet on this lawn with a few tables out laden with tea and cakes. 🙂
The other side has a children’s play area. So now we have come full circle.
In the grounds they have set up an indoor maze aimed at teaching younger visitors about Meadow Voles.
You go inside what could be Mole’s home from Wind in the Willows and watch a cartoon with meadow voles talking.
Then go through a maze as if you are a meadow vole too. There is a quiz on the way with a prize if you get the answers correct. Meadow voles eat grass and have a lot of predators. Just look how big that bee would be to one!
Beautiful mural as you leave the maze.
A real bee on thistle flowers.
My camera was still hating me from yesterday’s Peel Island adventure so kept flipping between disc cards and not wanting to focus so between jumping up and down with steam coming out of my ears I was asking hubby to take pics. This is one of his of a gate and posts with no walls. It looked like it could lead to a secret Narnia land. 🙂
We though were hungry, so we went to the stable yard which had been converted into a places to eat and shop as well as having toilets.
The stalls were still in place. But we used plates instead of the hay manger and trough.
Utterly delicious with quick service and a reasonable price.
We had a little more exploring to do.
The river valley
Herons were starting to gather in the trees by the canon.
Can you see that they fly a little like Les Dawson in “Cissie and Ada”- sort of all busty? (Did I really say that!?) Look at this clip and you’ll see what I mean.
They look more graceful in a tree.
Then they were fed. It was a free for all with lovely wing shapes. I think we counted 31 at one stage.
Stately strutting.
Some of the birds of prey were flown on my imaginary croquet lawn.

I do like Eagle Owls.
They have such beautiful eyes.

Next time the church and grounds in the last of the Lake District posts.

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