Reading My Way Around the World

Tuesday 30 November 2021

Gorgeous Autumn walk

It takes me ages to get photos organised and get around to writing about outings but as Autumn turns to winter I was looking through some photos and thought I'd share a trip we took a couple of weekends ago when the leaves were still holding on to the branches and those that were lying on the ground were begging to be rustled through and kicked in the air.    

We took the caravan out for the last trip of the year, thinking we'd be the only ones mad enough to go at the end of November.   But boy were we wrong.   We went to CastleWard in Co. Down and the park was full - so we're not the only nutters lol.  But the van was so cosy and comfortable and we were blessed with the most perfect Autumn weather.   

CastleWard is a stately home and estate, one of the few run by the National Trust here in Ireland, and it is a fabulous estate.   We couldn't go into the house itself, and in truth it didn't look that inviting, but the park is situated on the shores of Strangford Lough and it really is magnificent.   The last time I was there, many moons ago, was to see NI Opera doing a traditional opera performance - tradional in that there was a 90 minute interval where we all headed outside to enjoy a champagne picnic on the lawns - a really memorable experience (couldn't tell you what the opera was though lol)

There are lots of walks mapped out and as one couple we met said, it's much easier to get out for walks when you're away from home and it's planned out for you.  

On the way from the caravan park to the main house ... 

crisp leaves waiting to be kicked up 

Playing in the shadows 

Lots of knobbly trees 

this one was a fabulous shape

and enticing views of the water

A really cute, full man size bug hotel and lots of activity spaces for children - very well managed.

Arriving at the old stables that was used as the set for Winterfell in Game of Thrones 

And on to the big house .... 

The view to Strangford Lough from the front of the main house - it was very windswept standing at the front of the house looking down, (probably the reason the door is at the back).   The family have a fascinating history - the couple who built the house had totally opposing tastes and apparently the house is a mad mix of styles.   I look forward to going back someday to get a look around inside.  

There are lots of different gardens beautifully maintained including a pristine sunken garden 

and amazingly for the middle of November there was lots of colour still around. 

As I said, this is one of the few National Trust properties over here and while it is beautifully managed and cared for it was disappointing to find no local crafts or art on sale in their shop - except for Game of Thrones memorabilia and a few items from very big producers in Belfast or down south - and the craft village has been reduced from 18 to 2 crafters.  I did manage to find a really nice ornament for my garden though (something for my Spend Local gift) and it was a total delight to find a really good second hand bookshop with an honour system of paying.  Poor Tom got to carry a pile of stuff back to the van.   

So looking forward to the next trip away once the festive season eases off.  


  1. Lovely Fil & I enjoy seeing around somewhere I may now never experience. Ooh, I love kicking up autumn leaves and those knobbly trees remind me of some of our gums with grotesque looking burls. The gardens look beautiful. Thanks for sharing, take care & hugs.

  2. Hi Fil - it does sound as though it'll be worth a visit to look inside; I suspect the nothing on sale - is just a sign of the times = sad. However I'm glad you were able to Spend Local in finding your own gift for the garden. Wonderful though there was a bookshop ... I have to sit with a book soon and read - I just seem to buy them ... but intend (really I do!) to take time out to read. Good to hear from you ... it looks a wonderful last ride out - cheers and take care - Hilary

    PS wonderful knobbles!!

  3. That looks very lovely and relaxing, definitely puts my local mountain to shame (trees have all shed, so...).


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