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Lydford Castle

Visited May 2013

Location Lydford, Devon
Entrance Fee No
Railway Station Nearby No
Parking Yes
Facilities Toilets in car park


Lydford is a small village in Dartmoor, with a small but one-time notorious castle which was used as a prison, mainly for those violating the tin mining regulations in the area. It was known for its harsh prison regime- 'Lydford Law'. The conditions in the prison were pretty terrible, and its reputation for rough justice lived on well after the castles use as a prison had come to an end.







It is hard to imagine the castle we see today as a much-feared place of incarceration. It is sited next to a pleasant church, up on the top of a motte, which is unusual  as the motte was actually piled up around the castle after it was built, leaving the bottom part of the building under ground. This area was then filled in.






A spiral staircase has been installed to allow access to the ground floor of the castle, which has now been excavated. Without the roof the daylight streams in, but in the days as a prison it would not have been a sight the prisoners saw at all.





It is a small castle and a visit here does not last long, even with a quick stroll around the associated earth works outside. However, it can easily be combined with a visit to Okehampton Castle, just 7 miles away. There is also a cosy pub, the Castle Inn, right next door to the castle ( it used to be the home of the constable of the castle) They are happy to allow children in the restaurant and serve massive portions!



More info:  English Heritage Lydford Castle

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