Come to Corfe Castle and see how it fell during the English Civil War

...then why not take the steam train down to Swanage.

I often come here to Corfe with my sister and her two sons as the area boasts these two things which are of great appeal to young boys; trains and a castle.

GETTING HERE

You can come here by car along the A351 from Poole.However parking is limited an pricey in Corfe.There is a National Trust Car Park just before you enter the town on the left.If you want to come on public transport get the train to Wareham from Bournemouth.For train times and fares visit the South West Train website here Then you will need to take the bus from Wareham to Corfe and you can find bus times and fares here

THE CASTLE

The castle sits imposingly atop a hill and dominates the surrounding landscape. The word Corfe comes from the Anglo- Saxon word corf meaning gap, as the hill occupies a break in a ridge line running for many miles both east and west.

In recent years what's left of the castle has suffered some weathering with the result that some conservation work was necessary.This work has now been recognised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors who have awarded the owners, the National Trust ,it's award for building conservation in 2010.

corfe castle

Sadly the castle has lost much of its former glory not from neglect but from willful destruction. During the English Civil War the castle was a Royalist stronghold, and its capture by the Parliamentarians would be a turning point in the battle against Charles I.

Given the impregnability of the castle the Parliamentarians laid siege with guns aimed at the castle from all sides. In an audacious move, Royalist troops disguised as Parliamentarians sneaked into the castle and offered the owner’s wife Lady Bankes a chance of escape, but she refused.

In the end the castle was lost by an act of treachery when a member of the garrison Colonel Pitman let in Parliamentarian troops who forced a surrender by Lady Bankes. Shortly afterwards orders were given by Parliament to demolish the castle using explosives and the ruins that are left today bear testament to the skill of the constructors and destructors.

From the Keep which occupied the highest part of the castle you can look down on the village of Corfe itself where steam trains puff their way up the line from the seaside town of Swanage

The first train service from nearby Wareham began in 1885. The service continued until British Rail closed the line and removed the track in 1972.However this was not the end as a group of enthusiasts rebuilt the track up to the Castle from where trains still run today.

The journey is about six miles and is completed in about 25 minutes. Both steam and diesel locomotives are used, including a GWR 5700 class for the technically minded. You can leave your car at Norden Park which is at the end of the line and enjoy a return trip down to Swanage and a meal on board. A family ticket which covers two adults and three children cost £23.

The castle is a National Trust property.As for the trains go to the Swanage Railway for further information on running times.

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