Off the Beaten Track – Ruins of a great wealth
Now just an impressive ruin on the Northumberland coast, Dunstanburgh Castle was once the home of the richest man in the known World, John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of King Edward III, whose fortune in today’s terms would exceed £54 billion pounds which would still put him around sixth richest man in the World today.
For his time (1340 to 1399) he was one of the most powerful people in Europe and had a strong claim to the Duchy of Aquitaine and the Kingdom of Leon. He also owned and ruled over large parts of Northern England, including vast estates in Northumberland where he owned Dunstanburgh Castle. He had the castle upgraded against attacks from the Scots and the surrounding land developed into a beautiful medieval garden. However, damaged during the War of the Roses, it was never restored and by the 16th century it was already in ruins. This a “must see” castle. It is really huge and the castle buildings alone covers 9.5 acres. The whole building is set in stunningly bleak landscape where only sheep now graze, where once there were pleasure gardens.
The castle stands on its own on the Northumbrian coast between Craster and Embleton, both nice little seaside villages. There are some really nice properties that provide bed and breakfast in Craster near the pubs on the main street. Both of the pubs in Craster also provide good food. The walk to the castle from there is a very short distance and the coastal scenery is pretty spectacular. This is a lovely stretch of coastline with sandy beaches and a sense of isolation. You can walk all along the coast right up to that other magnificent castle, Bamburgh.
The castle and the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust and managed by English Heritage. Visitors with National Trust membership can enter free of charge.
For more details visit the National Trust site.