'Hurst Castle'.... another piece of Henry VIII
Hurst Castle was one of the many artillery fortresses built in the time of King Henry VIII in the 1500's. It was completed in 1544 and is located at the entrance to the Solent... at the very end of a shingle-spit, which starts at Milford-on-Sea...a 1.5 mile walk away. It has spectacular views out onto the Isle of Wight... including the three huge rocks there known as the Needles and Needle Lighthouse.
The castle has seen it's fair share of history.... including the imprisonment of Charles I in the 1648. It was one of the major battle stations along the English coastline in WWII and houses many massive guns.
To get to the Castle you can opt to either walk from Milford-on-Sea or catch a Ferry from Keyhaven. We decided to go the cheaper and more scenic route.... so it was on with walking shoes for Matt and I and back to the Wellies for the boys. We left our picnic lunch in the car (assuming it would be a rather quick return trip). It was a glorious day. The weather has been quite overcast so we knew it should be a magic day for photography lighting... we were definately not dissapointed. The sky put on a magical show of the most glorious colours is many shades and hues.....beautiful!!!
We took our time along the shingle spit... partly because it is nearly impossible to go quickly on river-type rocks. The boys wandered off to the side occasionally for a play in the boggy myre that was on one side of the spit... then to the ocean side on the other. The waves were crashing beautifully all along the shore which was scattered with the occasional fisherman or couple enjoying the gorgeous day....this is the life! We stopped frequently for one glorious photograph after another. In the distance the castle invited us and the Trinity Light Lighthouse stood out like a glorious beacon on the horizon. What's there not to photograph in that?
Once we reached the castle we showed our English Heritage cards. These are still the best investment we could have made here. We will definately be upgrading them in February next year. Even without the cards the entrance fee is not much: only £3.50 for adults and £2.20 for children. Very inexpensive day out.
We wandered around for a long time and lost track of time until it became quite obvious that we were all very hungry. There was no way we were going to make it all the way back to the car without some food first so we stopped at the cafe for some crisps and a soda... then set off to see more of the castle. The views from the keep were amazing. The clouds were so intense in the sky as we practiced some of our rope knotting, discovered some facts about different cloud formations and wandered around the historic rooms around this amazing fortress.
After another long walk along the spit we finally arrived back at the car at 5pm (we had been gone for 6 hours...Wow!). So much for it not being interesting enough to hold our attention. Should have taken the picnic with us after all... well worth the walk. As it turns out we forgot to grab a pan to cook our sausages in so it's probably a good thing that we didn't lug it around for nothing. Back in the car.... home to make sausages on bread... now for dinner instead of lunch. I think we earned the right to have a lazy dinner tonight.
5 out of 5 stars for this day out!