Last week, we looked at Shaftesbury Abbey, once home to the relics of Edward, King and Martyr. This week we turn our attention to Corfe Castle, the original site of his murder, Destroyed by the Roundheads during the English Civil War in a misguided attempt at denormanisation, this year (2023) saw its ruins become the subject of the National Trust’s biggest ever conservation project, restoring loose and damaged stonework, and removing excess vegetation without destroying valuable wildlife habitats.
Species found in the castle and surrounding area include the Adonis Butterfly and the Grey Bush Cricket. Perhaps fittingly, its gothic ruins are also home to birds of prey and carrion eaters; ravens, red kites and peregrine falcons.As with the Tower of London, legend has it that if the ravens ever leave Corfe Castle, England will fall.
Corfe Castle also gives its name to a nearby village and civil parish. Its railway station was a rather late casualty of the Beeching rail cuts, closing in 1972, but was reopened as part of the heritage Swanage Railway in the mid-1980s.
As well as the ruins themselves, Corfe Castle also has a tea room and bookshop, and is licenced for civil weddings. Opening hours are 10am to 6pm daily, with last entrance to the castle at 5.30pm.
The castle has a car park, and the satnav postcode is BH20 5DR. The nearest main line railway station is Wareham, and bus number 40 (Swanage to Poole) stops at the nearby Village Centre.