A CHESHIRE castle has been named as one of the 10 spookiest sites in England.

Beeston Castle, set in 40 acres of woodland park, has been the scene of several ghostly encounters in its 4,000 year history according to English Heritage staff.

Ahead of English Heritage's Halloween and After Dark events programme, its 1,800 staff were asked to vote for the spookiest site in its care.

Bolsover, Kenilworth and Carisbrooke castles were voted the top three scariest sites – with Beeston Castle coming in sixth on the list.

Staff at the castle have reported seeing a shadowy figure standing by the inner ward gates, lights flickering on and off and hearing knocking on the walls.

Lucy Hutchings, regional director at English Heritage, said: "Our sites are soaked in history and from bloody battles to dark deeds, not all of their stories are sweetness and light.

"Our castles and palaces, especially on these Halloween nights, can be eerie places and some of our team have seen and heard things they can't easily explain.

"With Halloween fast approaching, who better then to decide which site is the spookiest of them all than those people who are there from dawn to dusk, who know the sites' history and its ghostly legends inside out?"

Set atop a rocky crag and boasting spectacular views, Beeston is one of the most dramatically sited medieval castles in England.

On a clear day visitors can see from the Pennines to the Welsh mountains.

During half term, Beeston Castle is holding a range of Autumn Adventures from October 21 to November 5 with a scarecrow trail through the castle’s woodland grounds, spooky stories in the castle grounds, have-a-go-crafts and a Halloween themed children’s fancy dress each day at 3pm.

​​​​​​​The top ten spookiest sites to visit are:

1. Bolsover Castle, Derbyshire - Bolsover is one of the most widely reported haunted sites in the care of English Heritage. Members of staff and visitors often report being pushed, having doors slammed on them and finding objects inexplicably moved.

2. Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire - Staff have reported peculiar happenings in the gatehouse - things missing or moved once the castle has been closed to visitors, and the antique cot in the adjoining room rocking by itself. 

3. Carisbrooke Castle, Isle of Wight - When opening up the drum towers in the morning, staff have reported that the faint but detectable sound of children's laughter has often be heard, and that each time they enter a new room the laughter moves to the previous room entered.

4. Pendennis Castle, Cornwall - In 1646 the castle was the site of a siege and royalists were trapped inside for six months, forced to eat their horses and dogs for survival before eventually surrendering. The piercing screams of a kitchen maid who fell to her death whilst carrying food have been heard by visitors, as well as strange footsteps on a staircase that no longer leads anywhere.

5. Whitby Abbey, North Yorkshire -  Staff have felt unexplained cold draughts in the middle of staircases, stock flying off the shelves and strange taps on the shoulder seemingly from no one.

6. Beeston Castle and Woodland Park, Cheshire - Staff at Beeston Castle have reported seeing a shadowy figure standing by the inner ward gates, lights flickering on and off and hearing knocking on the walls. 

7. Dover Castle, Kent - In the great tower, the lower half of a man's body was seen by two members of staff in the doorway to the King's chamber. Another staff member, while cleaning the basement, saw the figure of a Cavalier, and another has seen the figure of a woman in a red dress.

8. Framlingham Castle, Suffolk - At the former home and fortress of 'bloody' Mary Tudor, staff have seen the figure of a man in 17th-century dress and a mysterious dark figure with a white face following them across the site.

9. Clifford's Tower, North Yorkshire - Staff have reported strange banging coming from ceilings, mysterious footsteps and the sound of children running in the courtyard when the site has been closed.

10.  Home of Charles Darwin - Down House, Kent - A staff member has reported that when entering the study once and brushing past Darwin's desk to close the shutters, a quill that lay on the desk suddenly stared spinning and wouldn't cease until she left the room.