(Grid reference SE80 8050030)
Castle Hill is located in:
- Owston Ferry village
- Owston Ferry parish
- Boothferry district
- South Humberside
The site lies directly to the south of the graveyard wall of the village church. It is referred to in this management plan as Castle Hill. On the site there is a listed monument (Owston Castle).
Castle Hill is easily accessible to the public. Access is via the church graveyard or public footpath (No. 136), which circulates the western boundary of the site.
The castle is thought to have been erected soon after the Norman conquest of 1066. Then later dismantled in 1095.
Roger de Mowbray rebuilt the castle in 1173 to support Prince Henry. The present king was annoyed by this display of disloyalty and had the castle destroyed.
Rights of common to the Mowbray tenants were granted in 1326. This Charter of Rights was the cause of a dispute between the ‘Commoners’ and the Dutchman Vermuyden during his drainage operations of the region.
The overall impression of the site is one of ‘naturalness’. Wildlife, particularly in the form of birds and butterflies, are readily observed in summer. The views are of greenery. And the only unnatural dominant element is attractive glimpses of the village church. The ‘naturalness’ has become, since 1990, visually more wild but less diverse and open in character.
The most prominent feature is a broad grassy mound. This is the motte; where the main fortified “keep” stood. Surrounding most of the mound is a broad bank and ditch. These are the remnants of the motte’s outer fortifications. The church and its churchyard now occupy the area which once accommodated the continuation of the outer fortifications to the north.
Overhanging the churchyard boundary wall are mature branches of horse chestnuts. These intermingle with maturing sycamore to provide the tree canopy along the northern perimeter of the site.
The under storey is relatively sparse and consists of:
- Scattered elder
- Blackthorn bushes
The ground cover is a blanket of predominantly umbels.
Towards the western perimeter, hugging the sides of the motte, are sweeps of quite dense blackthorn and elder thickets. The tree cover is still mainly sycamore. This continues in a circular line around the motte ending at the southern most tip of the mound. The dome of the motte harbours the most floristically diverse vegetation within the site. Amongst encroaching patches of course grass species are patches of fine:
- Lesser celandine
The grassland around the motte, covering the banks and ditches are primarily course species with distinct patches of:
- Spear thistle
Brambles are also widespread and tend to dominate the banks.
- Retain and improve the wildlife value of the site
- Increase the amenity value of the site
- Enhance and safeguard the historical features of the site
- Grassland and scrub cutting
- Woodland under storey clearance
- Hedgerow maintenance
- Meadow management