I woke up early and decided to head to the rail station a bit after 8 to catch the 0845 train north. Apparently there were issues with another line, so the 0845 didn’t depart until a few minutes after 9. But I actually didn’t miss the connection in Sheffield to Conisbrough. Stepped off one train; a minute later the other appeared. I arrived at the rail stop around 1030 and looked at a map there, which had an arrow pointing this ‘a way to the castle.
I started walking and got to a fork in the road – no signs at all to the castle. Of course, the funny thing is that you can see the castle keep from the road but there is no way to tell which way to turn to get to it. Boy has that little pay-to-go mobile phone come in handy! And I’d been smart enough to plug in the phone number of the visitor centre before I’d left Nottingham!! John was quite helpful – go right, up the hill…which I did until there was another fork in the road and again – no signage!! Do these folks NOT want you to find their castle? Called the visitor center again… go left and follow the road around the bend and you’ll find us.
We had a chuckle when I walked into the visitor centre. John and his co-worker immediately knew who I was. They mentioned that a couple who’d just arrived a few minutes before me also complained about the lack of signage.
Conisbrough Castle is impressive. The castle keep, dating back to the 12th century, has been restored. Inside, you climb dark winding stairs to 2 floors representing the ‘dining’ room and the lord’s chambers. The views from the top of the castle are amazing – it was a clear day and I could see for miles across the valley. I didn’t think to ask if the land had been forest-covered during the medieval period – if it was not, those guarding the castle would have a good view of approaching enemies.
Signage in the close described the layout of the castle – the kitchens, fireplaces, chapel, other rooms. Incredible that any parts of the walls still remain, and amazing to think how people lived there nearly 1000 years ago.
After I left the castle, I wandered up the street to St. Peter’s Church, which dates back to 750AD according to one sign. It wasn’t open, but it was a neat place to see – the churchyard was filled with ancient gravestones.
Had a toastie and cream tea at the village tea room. Delicious. Walked back to the train station and headed north, back on the local trains to York.