Brave Knights and Dirty Rascals

Ruins don’t get much more spectacular than Corfe Castle. Built a thousand years ago, the Castle was reduced to ruins during the English Civil War. Set on a hill high above the beautiful Dorset countryside, it’s an imposing sight. James had admired it as we’d driven past it on our way to the beach at Studland and was thrilled at the idea of a visit.

Brave Knights and Dirty Rascals

It’s owned by the National Trust and they often run children’s activities during holiday periods. It being Hallowe’en, there were plenty of pumpkins, carved into various scary faces, but it was the ones impaled on spikes (like heads at Traitors’ Gate) that James liked best.

At the entrance of Corfe Castle

There was the chance to try on some armour and play at being a brave knight. After that, you could try being a dirty rascal. We explained (with a bit of poetic licence) what the stocks were for: ‘If you weren’t a good boy at school then the teachers would put you in here and throw rotten tomatoes at you…’ “Oh! That doesn’t sound very nice, does it, Mummy?”

playing knights at Corfe Castle

We explored the passageways among the ruins, which formed a kind of natural playground. James ran around up and down the slopes and enjoyed the space.

running down the hill

The highlight for James was the chance to abseil a soft toy down a rope strung from the inner keep to a lower part of the Castle.

Jack the Cat on his dare-devil descent Jack the Cat on his dare-devil descent

He chose his soft toy, christened it ‘Jack the Cat’, and set off at a trot to climb to the top of the Castle to launch it down the rope. ‘Jack the Cat’ was fearless and got certificate as a souvenir of his bravery during his dare-devil descent.

James constantly asks if we can go back again to get another “soph-ist-i-cate… fer-sit-i-cate… fist-i-cate… thing”. We haven’t the heart to tell him that it’ll probably be next year before we get to go again!

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About the Author

Helen & Ian

Helen & Ian

About Me & Mine

Hi there! Helen and Ian here from the Oxfordshire-Wiltshire border! We have two boys who love everything in the Great Outdoors (especially sticks), and a border collie who also loves everything in the Great Outdoors (especially tennis balls). We also have a toddler daughter who is fiercely independent and proving to be just as intrepid as her brothers.

Favourite place in the world:

A difficult one... There are so many wonderful places to choose from... But it has to be Sandwood Bay in the far north-west of Scotland which can only be reached by a 4-mile walk. Last time we went it was a full-on winter mountaineering experience (with ice axe and crampons!) just to get there. Wild and windswept, it's totally unspoilt.

Favourite things to do outdoors:

Enjoy beaches, woods, and coastal paths; explore waterways in our open canoe; go for a big day out on a small hill; go rock climbing; collect sticks, conkers, and acorns; investigate puddles and rockpools; ride our tandem; fly a kite against a clear blue sky.

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