The National Trust in England was founded on 12th January 1895. Its aim was to “promote the permanent preservation for the benefit of the Nation of lands and tenements (including buildings) of beauty or historic interest”. Today, according to the National Trust website (https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk) the National Trust charity protects over 350 historic houses, gardens and ancient monuments which are open to the public.
One of those ancient sites is Corfe Castle in the county of Dorset. Once a Saxon stronghold, then Norman fortress, then Royal Palace. Today its dramatic ruins stand atop a hill on the main route through the Purbeck Hills. Maintained by the National Trust these stunning ruins are open to the public.
The Castle, or what is left of it, so dominates the village beneath its walls that the village itself is also called Corfe Castle. Towering over the tiny village it is easy to imagine how utterly imposing its fearsome stone ramparts must have looked when intact
The village built of local grey Purbeck limestone is delightful. Walking its streets is like stepping back in time. On the day I visited the sun brought out the warmth of the stone softening the grey to light silver.
Rarely, however, are the castle ruins out of sight and your eye is almost always pulled back in their direction however pleasing and distracting the village is. I couldn’t make up my mind whether the village was huddled beneath the fortification to protect it from attacking forces or whether it was cowering from its eponymous neighbour fearful of the stone fist so close by.
And it is to the castle that everyone is eventually drawn. It is a playground for both adults and children alike and it does not take a huge amount of imagination to picture the scenes that have played out within its boundary walls.
If you get the chance, pay Corfe Castle a visit. I promise you will not be disappointed.