The high banks and massive ditch that encircle todays car-park protected the Tiltyard and its sluice-gates. Why do you think this was so important for the Castle’s defence? Soldiers used this arena to practise fighting in mock battles called ‘melees’.
This raised causeway dammed back the waters of Finham Brook and Inchford Brook to create the Great Mere. Towers at both ends where ideal grandstands for watching jousting on the Tiltyard below. It takes its name from the wooden fence – the tilt – which separated the charging knights. Close your eyes and listen for the ghostly echoes of pounding hooves.
‘Purlieu’ is an old French word meaning “the land on the edge of the forest”. The new hedge was planted by BTCV, Kenilworth Footpath Preservation Society and Clinton Kenilworth Combined School.
Admire the vast earthworks that cover an area equal to the Castle itself. King Henry V built an isolated pleasure house here to escape from the daily hustle and bustle of Kenilworth Castle. It had a double moat and a harbour for boats bringing guests across the Great Mere.
The Great Mere
An enormous lake covered all the land between the Pleasaunce and the Castle. As you walk back towards the Castle imagine how splendid it must have looked reflected in the Great Mere.
The Sunken Lane
Feel the special atmosphere along this tree-lined hollow way. It’s the remnant of a man-made channel that carried water a mile from Inchford Brook to power the Castle’s water mills
There are four local nature reserves in Kenilworth. All are managed through a partnership agreement between Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and Warwick District Council. There are reserves at Kenilworth Common, Knowle Hill, Crackley Wood and Parliament Piece.
Parliament Piece is a 14 acre parkland field managed in a traditional way taking a hay crop and then aftermath grazing by cattle. This is a unique place to see unchanged scenery in the heart of the town just 5 minutes walk from Abbeyfields. A wonderful piece of peace and quiet for all to enjoy. Its name originates from the belief that Henry III’s parliament met there in 1266.
A diverse area of grassland, scrub and woodland which is particularly important for butterflies. There are recorded 25 species on the reserve managed with butterfly conversation to help conserve and increase the species. This area is a remnant of heath land in the centre of residential housing. It is an enjoyable stroll and has wonderful views of the surrounding areas.
Ancient woodland with a mixture of woodland types, glassy glades, ponds, ditches and boundary hedges. This wood is within easy walk of the town centre and has a hard surface path which allows for disabled use. Mature chestnuts on entering the wood create a impressive site. The wood is traditionally managed with a coppice with standards regime and hedge laying can be seen on the perimeter. The wood also links to the Kenilworth to Berkeswell Green that opens up a 4 mile walk into the countryside.
Wooded common within the town of Kenilworth. Open with some heathland this is being re-established in small pockets to retain species. Glow worms, slow worms and common lizard are just a few of the species that will benefit. A pleasant place to be just minutes from the town centre and an easy walk along the Finham Brooke from Abbeyfields.
For further information please visit www.warwickshire-wildlife-trust.org.uk/