Hi everyone, I hope you are all having a great week so far! We have really enjoyed some of the previous locations we have visited, and this one is definitely up there with one of our favourite locations for finding a hidden, tranquil and peaceful setting at Odiham castle. It is locally known as King John’s castle and is built alongside the banks of the River Whitewater, nestled inside the stunning Hampshire woodland along the Basingstoke canal.
This ruined castle was built between 1207-1214 by King John during his reign and served as his castle due to it being located halfway between Windsor and Winchester. It is said that Odiham was one of three royal castles that King John built and is seen as a rarity for this reason. King John seized 20 acres of land from a local lord, Robert the Parker for his new castle, and it took around 7 years to complete.
An interesting fact is that King John spent around £1000 over the 7 years to build his castle, in terms of monetary value nowadays, would cost in excess of £1,400,000. King John built the castle in an octagon shape, which for they way castles were normally built it was quite unusual, it was built in such a way and was guarded by a moat and hidden deep in the woodlands. Even with the great military defences built in the keep, it was mostly used as a hunting lodge.
Out of most of the ruins we have come across so far, I would have to comment that Odiham is one of that that is beautiful, still in great condition and you can just about make out the structure of the inside when walking inside. You can see that it was three storeys high, a large room perhaps for a communal hall, these also had fireplaces built in and joist holes for timber. As you walk inside you are also able to see a memorial from King John in 1215 which commemorates the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta.
Overall, it is one to visit and I would suggest making a visit as it has alot of hidden depths and beauty behind it, the walk to find the ruin is tranquil aswell as you lead yourself along the canal, with various wildlife including swans on the water floating by. Luckily there are signs posting along the way, but once you have walked down the canal, you will see a British heritage sign followed by a sharp left, and you are greeted by the castle.
A quick note to add – there isn’t a car park right near the castle, some walking is required, the nearest place to find a spot is the Colt Hill car park but nevertheless have a half day trip and take a picnic, it would be ideal to leave the car there.
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