There’s mounds of fun at Skipsea Castle

Published: Tuesday 15th August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Skipsea offers the opportunity to explore a stunning example of Norman motte-and-bailey castle.

Owned by English Heritage, Skipsea Castle is a fantastic place to explore this summer. The fascinating structure was built around 1086, just two decades after the Norman Conquest.

English Heritage is a national charity that looks after over 400 historic landmarks. Along with places like Skipsea Castle, they ensure that important locations from our past, such as prehistoric settlements, ancient gardens and iconic industrial sites, continue to inform and educate the general public.

It was actually William the Conqueror who first created the lordship of Holderness, which was a vast area from the Humber Estuary to Bridlington. This decision would give a lot of status to the area.

He gave this land to Drogo de la Beauvrière, whom he had fought alongside at the famous Battle of Hastings. Drogo was the one who built Skipsea Castle. Its purpose was to be a residence and administration centre for him and his successors.

Skipsea is special because of its huge conical mound, which measures a whopping 85 metres. Originally, it was assumed that this heap was built by the Normans; however, recent studies have suggested that it could date back to the Iron Age. If this is true, Skipsea is the largest Iron Age mound in the country, dating back 2,500 years.

The castle was made from earth and timber, so all you see now is this prehistoric mound. Imagine it being surrounded by water, via a watercourse that was connected to the sea.

There would have also been a freshwater channel, known as Steam Dyke, which supplied water and fish to the castle residents. On top of this, it would have served as a state-of-the-art waste management system!

The humongous grassy knoll is the ideal spot to burn off some of the kids’ energy, but as there’s no formal car parking or walkways, it is advised that you avoid taking your pushchair. Dogs are welcome onsite too and can enjoy the beautiful landscape.

Make a day of it and head to the nearby Burton Agnes Manor House, which is also a great example of Norman life. The pristine stately home is a popular visitor attraction and offers even more when it comes to occupying the whole family.

Venture further and visit the Wharram Percy Medieval Village, and if you’re making your way towards the coast, take in the sights at Scarborough Castle. Both of these family-friendly attractions are English Heritage sites.

Overall, Skipsea Castle is a wonderful spot to explore on a sunny afternoon. You could even take a picnic and soak up the extraordinary scenes of the East Yorkshire countryside. It’s completely free to enter, so it proves a very affordable choice for larger groups and families.

For more information, please visit the English Heritage website.

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Published: Tuesday 15th August 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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