Leeds Castle has kick-started this year’s 900th anniversary celebrations with a feature on BBC Countryfile.
The episode, which aired Sunday 13th January on BBC1, saw presenter Matt Baker explore the estate and lay the very first plaque on the new Woodland Walk timeline; a walk which will take visitors through nine centuries of history on their approach to the Castle. Matt even tried his hand at a spot of falconry with the Castle’s resident birds of prey!
Describing it as an experience he “will always remember”, Matt was invited to fly Barney; one of the Castle’s Kestrels. Using a lure to fly the falcon, which is a technique commonly used by Falconers to exercise the birds, Matt said the task was much “trickier than it looks” after receiving a lesson from our Falconry and Wildlife Manager, Mark Brattle.
Also featured was a Cedar of Lebanon overlooking the Castle; one of the estate’s most iconic trees. Joined by specially trained tree surgeons, Matt Baker and the team established cable systems to stop its branches from wilting out after suffering from storm damage – ensuring the tree will still be standing strong for centuries more to come.
Footage from inside the Castle was featured during an interview with Curator Annie Kemkaran-Smith, who spoke about its history and the 900th anniversary celebrations. Co-presenter Margherita Taylor also caught up with Matt at the end of the programme in the Castle’s Thorpe Hall Drawing Room.
Leeds Castle’s landmark year will celebrate nine centuries of history, dating back to 1119 when Robert de Crevecoeur built the first stone castle on the estate. A series of special events and activities are planned to celebrate the 900th anniversary, including a Carnival of History and the Big 900 Story Challenge!