Wild boar reintroduced into the grounds of a North Yorkshire medieval castle will take a starring role in BBC’s Countryfile programme, being screened this coming Sunday (3 February 2013).
The boar – two adult sows and their seven offspring – became an instant hit with visitors to Bolton Castle, in Wensleydale, when they are arrived in last August 2010.
The re-introduction of the boar – which are classified as dangerous wild animals and are housed in a four-acre fenced enclosure – is part of an ongoing initiative to give visitors a real flavour of what life was like at the castle in the 14th and15th Centuries.
Countryfile presenter Julia Bradbury was taken on a tour of Bolton Castle by owner Tom Orde-Powlett, where he told her about its history – in particular its association with Mary Queen of Scots – and the attractions it now offers visitors.
In addition to seeing a Merlin being trained to fly in the courtyard by Tom Graham of Thorpe Perrow Birds of Prey, Julia gets to feed the wild boar.
Katie Boggis, Bolton Castle general manager, said:
The timing of this episode couldn’t be better as we are busy preparing to open for the 2013 season on Saturday, February 16.
Countryfile is a very popular programme and being able to showcase the castle to a national audience is fantastic news not only for us, but for Wensleydale too.
Bolton Castle is one of the best preserved medieval castles in the country. When the castle was built in 1399, wild boar would have lived and roamed in nearby woodland.
In addition to the boar, we have also acquired a number of Wensleydale Sheep. These rare breeds were ‘created’ in the 19th Century and are particularly relevant to the castle for two reasons.
Not only are they a local breed, the first ones were bred very nearby. There would certainly have been similar looking long wool sheep in medieval times though.
Both the wild boar and the sheep are helping to give visitors an idea of what life would have been like at the castle over the past 600 years.
Further details about the wild boar, and the attractions at Bolton Castle, are available from its website, www.boltoncastle.co.uk