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Sherborne Old Castle is a romantic 12th-century ruin set in beautiful grounds next to New Sherborne Castle.
After withstanding two sieges during the Civil War, only the Southwest Gatehouse and parts of the castle, including the Great Tower and the North Range, now survive. Loved by Sir Walter Ralegh, he leased the castle but when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London for marrying one of Queen Elizabeth I's maids of honour without her permission, it was then leased out but remained a favourite home of the famous explorer.
The castle grounds are a haven for wildlife and birds and it is an ideal spot for a picnic where you can take in the beautiful views across the surrounding countryside. Keep an eye out for 'Lady Betty's Pinks' during July and August, named after Sir Walter Ralegh's wife, Elizabeth, flowering throughout the grounds.
The latest sightings board in the shop
The great gatehouse, still impressive after all this time
The stunning views over the surrounding countryside
The great range of birds, wildlife and fauna around the site