Hornby Castle Gardens

The private family home of Hornby Castle is situated in north Lancashire, almost on the edge of the Lake District and the border with the Yorkshire Dales. Set on a hill in its own grounds by the River Wenning the house overlooks Hornby village and the Lune Valley; the central Keep tower dates back to 1512 but the house was rebuilt round about 1820 in an early Victorian style with ornate ceilings and carved wood panelling. Although the house itself isn’t open to the public it does have a B&B apartment to rent and is occasionally available for private functions and special events. The extensive gardens are open to the public on just a few special weekends each year, and it was through reading someone else’s blog several weeks ago that I found out about it. I’d already missed one open weekend by then but I made a note of the next one – this weekend, and with the current glorious weather it was an opportunity not to be missed, especially as dogs were welcome in the grounds so I could take Sophie and Poppie with me.
Exactly an hour’s drive from home got me to Hornby village where I left the van in a small car park just off the main road and by the river. The bridge over the river gave me a lovely view looking west across to the hills on the far side of the Lune valley, and on the other side of the bridge looking east I got my first view of the castle beyond the trees.
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River Wenning at Hornby, looking west
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View of the castle from the bridge
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Just inside the big double gates a lady sitting in the shade of a gazebo took my £4 admission fee and gave me a copy of a hand drawn map showing where things were then I was left to wander at will. A long tree-lined driveway led up a continual incline and I had a choice of left or right – I chose right first and went to have a look round in the vicinity of the castle and the gardens nearest to it.
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A border near the entrance
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A corner near the lawn
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The castle from the lawn
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Herbaceous border
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The terrace
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The lawn from the terrace
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The rear of the castle
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Across from the steps leading to the castle lawn a woodland walk took me down to a large open area and the walled garden but a sign for the ponds and azaleas caught my attention so I decided to look round there first. The larger pond was well shaded by trees, with a rhododendron bush making a splash of dark pink colour against all the green, and though much of the pond surface was covered in a layer of green weed there was enough clear water to make some good reflections. There was an island in the middle accessed by an extremely narrow, only just about 2ft wide, bridge with a rail just on one side – making sure that the dogs stayed behind me I went across but there was nothing there except a rickety wooden bench, although the whole place was really quiet and peaceful. I must admit to being disappointed with the (lack of) azaleas though; I’d expected to see a riot of colour from lots of different shrubs but there were only an odd few dotted here and there along with a couple of rhododendrons – certainly not what I’d hoped to see, and a bit of a let-down to be honest.
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From the ponds I went to have a look round the walled garden; it was quite a large place but at least half of it was given over to several bare-looking sections and cold frames where various things were being grown – the lawned area was nice though with plenty of colour along the paths and side wall, and there was a small tea room with outside tables in one corner though I wasn’t tempted to go in. From there I went over to the riverside walk and wandered along until a fence and a ‘private’ sign stopped me from going any further then I turned round and retraced my steps.
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The walled garden
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The riverside walk
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Once I was sure I’d seen everything there was to see I made my way back down the long driveway and across the road to the car park. Once there I squeezed through the narrow gap in the corner of the wall and onto the riverside path; it didn’t go very far under the bridge but it was far enough for me to get a couple of shots from right next to the weir, in fact if I’d been any closer to it at one point I would have had two very wet feet.
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Hornby bridge
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Back at the van I gave the dogs a much-needed drink, although they’d had one from the bowl provided in the walled garden, then set off for home, although I did make a brief stop after I left the village. As I drove past an open field I caught sight of a very tiny and very cute pony standing by the field gate – an opportunity not to be missed so I pulled up where I could and walked back to take a photo of him. It wasn’t easy as he was very friendly and insisted on standing so close to the gate but I managed to get my head and the camera through the bars and take a sideways shot of him.
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That was to be my last shot of the day, and with no more interruptions or delays on the motorway I was back home before 4pm. It had seemed a bit of a long way to go just to look round a garden but I’d had a nice few hours out in good weather, photographed somewhere I’d not been to before and rounded the whole thing off with an adorable little pony, so it had definitely all been worth it.
I’m joining in with Jo’s Monday Walk again where this week she’s been wandering round a couple of gardens next door to each other – follow the link and enjoy the beauty of the gorgeous rhododendrons she found while there.

18 thoughts on “Hornby Castle Gardens

  1. It’s certainly is an impressive looking castle. Nice that you could walk the dogs around the gardens, just a shame they were rather disappointing. Still, it was a nice day out and it’s always nice to visit somewhere different. What a sweet little pony, obviously loves the attention.

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    1. It’s a wonderful looking place, it’s a shame it isn’t open to the public as I can imagine the interior architecture and furnishings are quite something. I mentioned the lack of azaleas to the lady on the gate when I went out, she said there’s usually quite a lot but things were blooming late this year because of the cold wet winter we’ve had. That does makes sense but I’m only an hour away and round here there are azaleas in full bloom all over the place – my neighbour on the corner has got a gorgeous red one in her garden 🙂 The pony was very cute and really friendly so I felt guilty that I had nothing for him 😦

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  2. He was certainly very cute, and with markings like that he would have been a Dalmation if he’d been a dog 🙂 The gardens were lovely in spite of the lack of azaleas, well worth a good look round and being able to take the dogs in was a bonus 🙂

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  3. Ahh came here for the snowdrops in February. Looks alot more colourful now. Though shame that there were not more azaleas in bloom for you. Flowers are definitely a little behind this year. Just been to the lakes though and did see plenty of flowering shrubs there. X

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    1. I think it was probably your blog where I first found out about it and made a note of this weekend 🙂 It was a good few hours out and a bonus being able to take the dogs in. It was fairly quiet too, I think a lot of people had stayed at home to watch the wedding I was escaping from! 🙂

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  4. Hi Eunice! 🙂 🙂 Sorry to be so late here but I’ve actually been doing much the same thing myself at a garden up in Northumberland. The Open Gardens scheme is great isn’t it? Did you pick up a leaflet, or is it not the same scheme? Hornby Castle looks to be a magnificent site. Thanks so much for the link. I need to scoot off and finish tomorrow’s post. 🙂

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  5. It appears not to be the same scheme Jo, I think it’s just their own private open days – the next open weekend is 8th and 9th of September. I’ll probably miss that one as I’ll be away so it was either this weekend or wait until next year – and when I decide I’m going somewhere I can’t wait that long! 🙂 It’s a nice place and well worth a look round. I’ll add a link to your post at the bottom of this one when I know where you’ve been this week 🙂 🙂

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    1. It’s a great place in a wonderful setting, and when you look at the outside it just makes you want to get in there and explore – a shame it’s not open to the public as it’s probably very interesting inside.

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    1. Thank you – to be honest it’s nothing special, just one of WordPress’s own which I chose when setting up the blog as none of the others seemed suitable. For a much nicer header have a look at my other blog – https://abenchwithaviewblog.wordpress.com/ which I started fairly recently. I had the same header as this but Jo suggested I changed it so I picked one of my own photos in a similar theme 🙂

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  6. Thank you, I’m glad you like the header. The photo was taken at 6.30am one morning in early September last year, on the Norfolk beach just down below the camping field where I stay each year – the sunrises can be really beautiful there. It’s nice that you like my benches, I’ve a few to include yet when I have time 🙂

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