Castle Ward, County Down, is, of course, the ancestral seat of the Viscounts Bangor. Indeed, the family still has an apartment in the mansion house.
When I arrived I made a bee-line for the cafeteria in the stable-yard, where I had a delicious bowl of very thick curried carrot and parsnip soup, served with a generous slice of wheaten-bread.
Castle Ward has been a property of the National Trust since the early 1950s.
|The Tack Room|
I think the 7th Viscount gave the estate to the Northern Ireland government at the time as part of death duties.
After lunch, I took advantage of the free wi-fi in the stable-yard and posted a few photographs.
Thence I donned the wellington boots and had a long walk through the estate woodland.
I passed the former gamekeeper's cottage, otherwise known as the Bunkhouse; the pond; and a very large field with cattle.
BACK at the mansion house, I admired the prospect from the garden front of Strangford Lough.
Scrub and bushes have been cleared from the area between the house and the stable-yard outbuildings, revealing a very small single-storey cottage or bothy, which has obviously been derelict for many years.
I've been coming to Castle Ward since I was a boy and I've never seen this building before.
I wonder what its purpose was? Did it store something?
Before I departed I visited the farmyard, where Old Castle Ward is located, and walked past the former smithy to the charming Bonito Cottage.