Halton Castle

Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. Humans are in lockdown again, due to the nasty virus thingy. This means that we have to stay local and exercise daily from home. My human says that it is becoming difficult to think of different areas and themes for our walks. So, if anyone has any ideas for us, I will let the big feller know. My dad said that I could decide where we would walk to on this cold January day. What he meant was that I could be on a slightly longer lead and he would follow me while I decided whether to turn left or right at junctions. This sounded like a great idea to me. Instead of walking around the flat streets I would drag him up a few hills!

I took him up Latham Avenue, left along Boston Avenue and uphill to Halton Village via Halton Brow. It was slippery under paw as the ice from overnight had not completely melted. My dad diverted me away from the patches of grit that had been thrown onto the footpaths so that my paws didn’t get burned. When we reached the top of the brow, I turned him right into the village. We had to stop for a minute or two while he had a good moan about his gammy knee. Then I took him along Main Street. At this juncture he suggested that we have a walk around Halton Castle. I thought that it was a good idea, as long as he could hobble up the hill.

Steps from Main Street

My human spotted a flight of steps heading up the hill behind the houses that we have never noticed before. He slowly climbed the steps, uttering the odd profanity, as his knee pained him. Such a wimp! At the top of the steps, we entered a large green flat area, at the side of St. Mary’s church. After passing through a gap in a hedge, we were in front of The Castle, the pub that used to be the courthouse.

Top of the steps
Start of the perimeter footpath

We decided to walk around the perimeter path that hugs the castle walls. Halton Castle interior is closed at the moment, due to Covid-19 restrictions but, the walk around the site is still worth doing. The views commanded from the path over the River Mersey are stunning. The site for the castle was obviously chosen to look out for an invasion along the river. On the day that we walked, unfortunately the distant views were in mist.

Hazy view across the Mersey

Halton Castle was originally a wooden motte and bailey structure, built in 1071. The current sandstone castle replaced this in the 13th century. It became the property of the Duchy of Lancaster and in Tudor times it was used mainly as a prison, courthouse and administrative centre. During the English Civil War, it was held by the Royalists but, it was attacked by the Roundheads. After a few weeks of fighting the Royalists surrendered. They later regained control but were beaten again by the Parliamentarians. Within a few years the castle was dismantled by Oliver Cromwell, after it was decided that it was not needed as a military stronghold. It was left to deteriorate except for the courthouse. In 1737 a new courthouse was built on the site of the gatehouse, the current pub. The court continued to hold sessions until 1908.

Castle arched window

We continued on our walk while my human took a few photographs. It wasn’t the clearest of views but, we could see Halton Village, Castlefields, Runcorn, Widnes and the three bridges over the River Mersey. The Millennium Green and the Norton Arms pub were below us in the broken sunshine.

Norton Arms, Millennium Green with Fiddlers Ferry in the distance

The ruins of the castle, built on the sandstone outcrop, were silhouetted against the sky as the sun dazzled us. Arrowslits, or loopholes, are clearly visible on the perimeter walls that provided protection for the archers within the castle fortifications. I had a run around the side of the hill while I chased squirrels and thrushes that were hiding in the bushes. One day I will be reporting on a successful chase and catch but, not on this day. We came across a couple of flights of steps that led down to the perimeter road but, we stayed on the higher path. It was peaceful as we were the only visitors on the day.

Arrowslits or loopholes
Castle window
Castle walls
Castle walls
Silhouetted ruins

In 2015 an archaeological dig within the grounds of the castle uncovered the remains of a man and a woman that were buried over 400 years ago. There is no documented evidence of the burial and it remains a mystery to this date. It is extremely unusual to find burial sites within castle grounds in the UK.

Mersey Gateway Bridge in the mist
Intact section of wall – rebuilt
Daresbury Labs in the distance

We walked to the front entrance of the castle which is the entrance to the Castle pub nowadays. The pub is currently closed due to the lockdown so, sadly, no pint for the big feller. The courthouse coat of arms is still proudly displayed above the entrance door with a sandstone flight of steps leading to it.

St Mary’s church
Another way off the hill
Near the front entrance of the castle
The Castle pub
The old courthouse
Castle Road

We headed downhill along Castle Road. My human was leading the way back home because he doesn’t trust me to navigate. I think that he underestimates me. All I have to do is follow the scent marks that I had left every hundred yards or so! Till next time!

Stick time on the way home

9 thoughts on “Halton Castle

  1. Enjoyed walking with you both. Love the history and the views. Have you tried the walk round by the old Tricorn Pub? If you research the pub building history, it was Hallwood Hall and belonged to Sir John Chesshyre who built the first ever public library in 1733 in Halton! He had a beautiful house and stables and built a mock moat near the propery, part of which is still there as you walk down the path from the old pub building towards the now Town Park. The area is nicely landscaped with woods and plenty of room for you dog to have a whale of a time! The pub building has a few original sandstone bricks still visible and the area where the ball room was was used as a function room for the pub. Sir John owned a lot of land around there. Hope you enjoy your walk and exploration.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice pics! We did a walk from the castle; left at Halton Main Street; left into Norton Lane bearing right, then left into the woods after the barrier joining the Timberland Trail to the busway. Turn right then after 300 or so metres enter Windmill Hill Woods bearing right at the site of the old monument and right on to Norton Lane. Left along tarmac path to play ground, bear right to Stockham Lane follow it to Halton Village and the start.

    Liked by 1 person

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