CASTLE Howard is inviting visitors on a spooky woodland adventure this Halloween at its new adventure playground - Skelf Island.

Over the October half-term, the attraction joins forces with Rusticus, an open-air theatre company, to stage a mysterious trail through the Skelf woods.

Abbi Ollive, head of marketing at Castle Howard, said: “The inspiration for Skelf Island was all around nature and the wildlife found in Castle Howard’s grounds. The Halloween trail picks up on these themes.

“Hopefully young people will learn more about the habitats and species that can be found around Ray Wood at this time of the year.”

Skelf Island’s treetop nest structures, connected by rope bridges, slides, nets and climbing equipment, will be transformed with atmospheric lights and spooky smoke effects.

The Skelves, played by actors from Rusticus, will lead the children through the trail, in search of clues to unlock the age-old knowledge of woodland wildlife and its habitats.

Abbi said: “This is a chance for families to be outdoors experiencing the seasons, letting off some steam in the open air. It will be fun and educational with a touch of spooky Halloween happenings.”

Prizes will be presented to those who complete the route. As well as the daily activities, there will also be face painting and seasonal Halloween treats to add to the fun.

The Halloween trail at Skelf Island, together with the Straw Bale Maze in the Walled Garden, will be available from today (Saturday) until November 3. A gang of live Skelves will be in residence on October 19-20 and from October 26 until November 3.

The event is included in the price of a gardens ticket, which can be purchased on the Castle Howard website.

There is no age restriction and the stately home is welcoming anyone to the event.