Dean Castle Country Park


Dean Castle Country Park

April 2012

Helen Rose Hill Diary

There has been a lull in walking activities due to the broken leg last November. It has been a long, slow painful process learning to walk again after nearly seven weeks in a cast. The cast came off in January and then there was a period of non weight bearing. I hopped around with the aid of a Zimmer then crutches and slowly and painfully built up the walking to putting full weight on to the broken leg. It takes a year for a broken bone to fully heal and putting weight on it aids healing. I have no idea why this should be the case. I have an xray in July at the eight month stage and the Orthopod will tell me the permanent outcome is. I have had loads of physiotherapy and I am progressing.

Anyway, I went out with the Walking Club on an easy Wednesday walk to Dean Park Country Park. I can’t wear walking boots yet due to ankle swelling but I am managing fine in trail shoes. It is great discovering flat walks and yes there is a life beyond hills! Dean Castle Country Park is situated near Kilmarnock and was gifted to the local people by the Lord Howard de Walden with the magnificent 14th century castle. The estate comprises 200 acres of countryside.  We travelled by public bus from Glasgow to near Kilmarnock. The walk was to be just over four miles and flat.

On entering the park, we headed straight to the tearoom for tea and scones. The weather was cold so fortification was needed before going outside. The castle was near the entrance to the park so we had a self guided tour around it. The castle contains a fine collection of early musical instruments and entrance to the castle and dower house is free. The castle is fourteenth century although some of the walls have been rebuilt. We walked on to the Urban Farm and had a look at the breeding farm of lambs, llamas and small animals. There was also an aviary of exotic birds. In an adjacent field and wood, there was a herd of red deer, also part of a breeding programme. This is an excellent way for children to see animals at close range especially the deer.

We ventured further into the park to the pinetum and some old burial sites and then walked along the river. It was a fairly short walk but enjoyable. It was then a walk into Kilmarnock to the local hostelry and onwards home by public bus. It was a good introduction to walking for me.

Coming attractions Malham, Yorkshire and Berwick on Tweed.

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