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Dunstanburgh Castle

Craster, Northumberland

Quick Guide
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A large castle ruins sitting on an outcrop from the mainland overlooking the sea. It dominates the Northumberland Coastline at this point. It is atmospheric, and isolated on its dolerite promontory. On the south side there is a gentle slope towards the castle. The northerly approach is much steeper and the northern perimeter juts into Embleton Bay forms a 150-foot cliff.

It was once one of the largest fortifications in Northern England.

The present castle encloses the entire 4.5 hectare headland. The southern approach is protected by a long enceinte wall punctuated by two rectangular towers,  two turrets and a large twin-towered gatehouse at the western corner, this was the principal residential block of the castle. At the rear of the gatehouse was an enclosed courtyard by walls and a tower to form an inner ward, with access on the east side. From the gatehouse, the wall carries northward along the hilltop to a rectangular turreted watch tower. There are signs of medieval rig-and-furrow on the slopes near to the castle - possible evidence of subsistence farming for the castle inhabitants.

The gatehouse- keep is of 14th century design and each tower was 4 storeys high and capped by four turrets. The first floor was divided into three rooms with the central one controlling the portcullis mechanism. The second floor was one large room which is believed to have been a hall and chambers.

It can be reached from north or south allowing differing views of it and can be dramatically lit at dawn or dusk throughout the year. As well as being photogenic from the coastline nearby, once up close and on top of it's crag you can get fine cliff top panoramas.

Location: Dunstanburgh Castle, Craster, Alnwick Northumberland

Grid Reference: NU258220 Ceremonial County: Northumberland

Map Link: Multimap

Aerial photo: Google Aerial Photo

Getting there: 8 miles NE of Alnwick. Parking at Craster or Embleton.

Access: 1.5 mile flat coastal walk from Craster or Embleton.
Website: National Trust   English Heritage
Other Useful Websites: Wiki   Castle Xplorer
Address: Craster, Alnwick, Northumberland
Postcode: NE66 3TT Telephone: 01665 576231
Opening Times: 21 Mar-30 Sep 10am-5pm; 1 Oct-31 Oct 10am-4pm Daily.
1 Nov-30 Nov 10am-4pm Thur-Mon

Charges: Adult 3.50; Child 1.80; concessions 2.80. Free to English Heritage members.

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CIN Page Ref: dunstanburgh_castle

Classification: castle

Date Updated: 08/2008

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