Twilight casts new light on Weoley Castle
Wednesday 7 October, 6.30pm
A unique opportunity to explore the ruins of a forgotten castle, bathed in golden autumnal sunlight – that’s what staff and volunteers at Weoley Castle are planning for the evening of 7 October, when the historic site, nestled at the heart of a housing estate, hosts twilight tours.
Although they are unable to guarantee the weather, a fascinating glimpse into the past of this site – which earned the title ‘castle’ thanks to its crenelated walls, despite being created as a fortified hunting lodge – is promised by the tour guides who will be inviting visitors to step beyond the fences and walk amongst the stones that remain of this once great property.
“Everyone knows the name of the Weoley Castle housing estate, but few people realise that the remains of the castle from which it draws its name are still visible today – surrounded by the inter-war pre-fab houses, retaining a green oasis of peace,” comments team manager for Weoley Castle, Wayne Dixon. “The story of Weoley Castle is a tale of wealthy landowners, who built a manor house at the heart of a 1000 acre deer park which stretched right into what is now Birmingham city centre. We’ll be telling visitors on the evening about this castle’s history, including the archaeological excavations of the 1930s which revealed so much of what we now know about the site.”
Normally, the only people walking around the stone ruins in the evening are the Castle Keepers, a hardy group of volunteers who maintain the castle remains, which have the same scheduled Ancient Monument status as Stonehenge, but the early evening tours, running from 6.30pm, will enable visitors to get a taste of what the site is like after dark, when the wildlife that hides in the treeline around the site reclaim it for their own.
“For anyone who doesn’t know about Weoley Castle, this is an historical gem in a most unexpected place, so these tours are a fantastic way to get to see the site with an experienced tour guide on hand to add colour to the castle’s story,” adds Wayne.
Tickets for the tours are £6.00 per person, with participants advised to wear sturdy footwear and outdoor clothing appropriate for the weather. Tours take around an hour, with hot drinks and toffee apples available in the visitor centre, where they will also be able to see historic photographs of what the site was like before the housing was built around it.
Places on the tours are limited, so prebooking is essential by calling 0121 348 8263. The castle itself is accessed from Alwold Road, off Weoley Park Road and Castle Road. More information on Weoley Castle, including details of seasonal tours, is available online at www.birminghammuseums.org.uk
Notes to editor:
Birmingham Museums Trust is an independent charity that manages the city’s museum collection and venues on behalf of Birmingham City Council. It uses the collection of around 800,000 objects to provide a wide range of arts, cultural and historical experiences, events and activities that deliver accessible learning, creativity and enjoyment for citizens and visitors to the city. Most areas of the collection are designated as being of national importance, including the finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art in the world. Attracting over 1 million visits a year, the Trust’s venues include Aston Hall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Blakesley Hall, Museum Collections Centre, Museum of the Jewellery Quarter, Sarehole Mill, Soho House, Thinktank and Weoley Castle. www.birminghammuseums.org.uk
Arts Council England champions, develops and invests in artistic and cultural experiences that enrich people’s lives. It supports a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to digital art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2015 and 2018, Arts Council England plans to invest £1.1 billion of public money from government and an estimated £700 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk
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