Saturday, 21 September 2013

Helmsley Castle and The Birds of Prey Centre, Duncombe Park

We'd decided to visit Helmsley for the day to see what we could see.

Actually, there's quite a lot to see in the area surrounding the market town, and we had these places in mind when as we drove into the car park.  We knew Helmsley Castle was near the town centre. What we didn't know was that we'd parked the car right next to it!  Peter spotted the entrance as we were walking out of the car park, so that was it, we decided to go look see.

I have to say, looking at the English Heritage website pictures of Helmsley Castle, I wasn't expecting much, but I was wrong. We were wandering around for a good hour and a half and really quite enjoyed the place. Here are the photo's.

The castle has a moat.........   Actually, it has two moats.
And a Keep
The Keep looks kinda cool from this side. 
Like all good castles, it has really really thick walls
And of course a strong gate.  A sign of wealth and power

Then there are the living quarters for the lords and ladies.  This hall is quite impressive inside. 
I really like these windows, I think this is the older part of the hall.

All those fireplaces.  They were as many on the opposite wall.  You'd need them in a place like this I think. 

This is in the new part of the hall, all the original panelling and fittings from Elizabethan times.
Yep. Helmsley Castle is definitely worth a visit if you like old ruins and your in the area. 

Once we'd left the castle we headed into town for a cuppa and a sandwich, but  met a young lady with an owl on her arm instead.  She was encouraging people to visit The Bird of Prey Centre at Duncombe Park. We couldn't resist.  (We did get our cup of tea and a bite to eat first though.)

Duncombe Park
We arrived with plenty of time to walk around the centre and admire the birds before the next flying demonstration.  There are over a hundred, owls, hawks, buzzards and eagles.  The sea eagles are massive and there were even a couple of rescued vultures.  "The Hawk Walk" is an area where the trained birds sit without fencing, and you can get close enough to really appreciate those sharp beaks and talons. 
Hybrid Peregrine Falcon.  Apparently full bred Peregrines are too difficult to train. 


Yellow Billed Kite

Harris Hawk

Grey Buzzard Eagle

Steppe Eagle. 
And then it was time to watch the flying demonstration. We watched a massive owl who was absolutely silent, the grey buzzard eagle, a couple of hawks and then the hybrid peregrine falcon.  I have to say the falcon was amazing to watch, literally dive bombing the handler with incredible skill.  Amazing.  
I didn't take any photographs of the birds flying.  I was too busy watching.  Awesome.

So that was our day in Helmsley.  Tomorrow we have walked planned, and I'm really looking foward to it. 

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