Piel Castle

Piel Castle, Piel Island

Piel Castle stands on Piel Island, just off the coast of Walney Island and Barrow-in-Furness.

image of an aerial view of Piel Castle on Piel Island off the coast of Cumbria

Piel Castle stands on the South-Eastern point of Piel Island at the mouth of the deep-water harbour of Barrow-in-Furness, guarding the passage to and from Furness Abbey‘s holdings in Ireland and the Isle of Man. The Abbot and convent were granted a license to crenellate their dwelling-house in 1372 by Edward III, which suggests the fortification of an existing building.

image of Piel Castle on looking across the sands at low tide

By 1537, when Furness Abbey was dissolved, the castle was in a ruinous state. Piel Island was given to Barrow Corporation in 1918, and the Castle came into state guardianship in 1919.

Piel Castle stands on a low mound of clay at the highest point of the Island. It consists of a keep, with inner and outer baileys, each surrounded by a ditch, and with towers at three corners.

image of Piel Castle looking across the sea towards Piel Island from Walney island
Piel Castle from Walney Island

The castle is in the care of English Heritage. It can be reached by a ferry from Roa Island, a few miles south-east of Barrow. Details of access are available from the Tourist Information Centre.

Guided walks to Piel Island and Piel Castle

In 2022 guided walks to Piel Island from Walney Island are available across the sand. Led by Ben Pinder and the well known local historian John Murphy, it’s a fantastic opportunity to walk across the bay to the magical island to visit the castle that the monks built.

In these walks you can learn all about the history of Piel Castle as well as learning about the medicinal and wild edibles encountered. There’s also the chance to see all manner of wild life plus you get to meet the new King of the Island! It’s a great day out for all ages.

The tours last about four hours, with plenty of breaks and time for a cheeky pint in the pub. Contact Ben Pinder on [email protected] for more dates and booking.

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Grid Ref : SD 233636