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Originally a bishop’s palace, Sherborne Old Castle became the home of Sir Walter Ralegh – an English explorer and great favourite of Queen Elizabeth I. The castle was later a powerful Royalist base and saw fierce fighting during the Civil War. Oliver Cromwell set out to capture the castle, which he described as 'malicious and mischievous'. It fell in 1645 after a fierce eleven-day siege.
Today, the castle grounds are a haven for wildlife and birds, with picturesque views across the surrounding countryside. Keep an eye out for 'Lady Betty's Pinks' flowering during July and August, locally named after Sir Walter Ralegh's wife, Elizabeth.
The great gatehouse, still impressive after all this time