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Thu 2nd October, 2014
Raby Castle is currently closed for winter; join us when we...
Raby Castle Opening Times
Closed for Winter - Join us when we re-open for Easter 2015
Park & Gardens inc. Shop & Tearooms
The Park & Gardens
Raby Castle is surrounded by 200 acres of lush green parkland, where herds of Red and Fallow Deer live wild. Follow one of the walks through the park and around the ponds where you’ll see plenty of wildlife. You will also enjoy exploring 5 acres of traditional 18th century ornamental Walled Gardens including fabulous Yew Hedges, trees, plants and ornaments from the 18th and 19th century.
Admission to the Park & Gardens is included in your Castle ticket, or you can purchase admission for the Park & Gardens only – see our admission prices for more details.
Well behaved dogs are welcome in the Deer Park on leads only. Please note dogs are not allowed in the Castle and Gardens except assistance dogs.
On a visit to Raby, you will see two species of deer, Red deer, the largest British wild land mammal, and the smaller Fallow deer - both herds contain the descendants of deer preserved in this area since Norman times.
The Red deer change their behaviour through the seasons as the male (stag) and the female (hind) separate during the summer only to re-join for the mating season, or 'rut', in autumn.
Deer also change as they grow, losing their spots after six weeks, with the males growing antlers in their first spring, which grow bigger each year until their fourth year when they become an 'eight pointer' with four points on each antler.
The Black (actually dark grey in colour), Mottled (with white spots), and White Fallow deer at Raby Park are all recognisable by their clubbed, rather than pointed, antlers.
Please do not touch!
From May to July each year, fallow fawns and red calves will be born. It is vital that people do not pick them up, move, or even touch them, as any human scent which remains on the young deer may deter the mother from returning to feed her young. It is also very important that you keep your dogs on short leads at this time of year in areas which may be inhabited by deer. It is quite normal for young deer to be left on their own for long periods of time - THEY HAVE NOT BEEN ABANDONED!
The Walled Garden
Although there would have been a small garden at Raby during the Middle Ages to provide the herbs and plants needed for medicines, it was not until the mid-18th century that a formal garden was established, designed by Thomas Wright.
The walls of locally hand-made bricks were constructed with flues which, when heated, enabled sub-tropical fruits such as apricots to be grown on the South Terrace. Of these, only the White Ischia Fig,brought to Raby in 1786 by William Harry, Lord Barnard, later 3rd Earl of Darlington, still survives in its specially built house, fruiting annually.
The Gardens have been considerably altered during this century, particularly since 1980, but many of the original features remain. In particular, there are the two fine old yew hedges, and the ornamental pond, originally constructed to provide water for the Kitchen Garden.
Also within this area is the new conservatory whose front replicates the 19th century original, rose gardens; formal lawns; and the informal heather and conifer garden.
The East Garden contains the main herbaceous border, designed by the Dowager Lady Barnard, with species of trees within the lawn, such as the Tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipafera) and the Wedding Day Rose (Rosa syn Wedding Day) whose petals transform through three colour changes.
Garden Ornamental Features
The West Garden displays shrub borders, garden nurseries and the remaining Kitchen Garden. Also in this part of the Garden is the Gothic cottage orné designed by James Paine.
In the centre of the South Terrace is a fine wrought iron gate, bearing the monogram of Christopher, the 1st Lord Barnard. Designed by James Gibb it was made originally in the early 18th century for Shipbourne Church, near the family seat of Fairlawn in Kent, and when the Church underwent repairs in the late 19th century, the then owner of Fairlawn, Mr Cazalet, made a gift of them to the 9th Lord Barnard, who erected them here in 1894. A smaller gate in the wall of the East Garden was erected by the Dowager Lady Barnard in 1937.