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Castle Acre Castle

Visited June 2017

Location Castle Acre, Norfolk
Entrance Fee No 
Railway Station Nearby No 
Parking Yes 
Facilities None



Norman Lord William de Warren founded Castle Acre Castle in around 1071. The town that grew up around the castle  was extended by his son, who also founded the nearby Castle Acre Priory. Both the castle & priory have substantial remains and are conveniently close so as to make it easy to visit both on the same trip.






The castle still has some of the best examples of defensive earthworks in the country. (See also Castle Rising Castle) It is a classic example of a motte and bailey castle, which has not been re-modelled too much in the years after as it was largely abandoned in medieval times. The earthworks are pretty much still complete, so you can do a circuit of the whole outer bailey. If you look down into the middle of the bailey you can see the outline of buildings which once stood there. 


In the inner bailey are the remains of a building, three storeys high with large windows. Although this was built in the area traditionally occupied by the great keep, it is thought that this building was a grand residence but not designed to be defensible- the walls were thinner than would be required to withstand an attack and the large windows would have been a liability in times of siege. 





The castle still has two existing gates. The south gate would have been the back gate and this still stands up on the ramparts. At the bottom of the western side of the ramparts is the west gate. This gate had large twin turrets which can still be made out today. If you are entering the castle on foot then through the west gate is probably the best route, as the entrance to the site is off Bailey Street in  the centre of the town. If you are coming by car the car park is next to the remains of the barbican, wooden bridges have been installed across the ramparts to make access from this point easier. 




Still in existence in the centre of the town is the bailey gate, which as the name suggest was the gateway into the inner bailey. This is still in good condition and stands at the entrance to Bailey Street, with traffic still driving through the ancient archway. There are no facilities at the castle, but there are places to eat in the town.


Castle Acre Priory is about two minutes drive away, and has toilets on site and light refreshments available in the shop.






More info:  English Heritage Castle Acre Castle

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