Saturday, 31 October 2015

Hawkstone Folly

Today we visited Hawkstone folly which is a  wonderfully, atmospheric woodland with different follies, caves tunnels and woods. It is a Grade I listed landscape dating back to the late 18th Century and apparently a fine example of a Picturesque English Garden.  It was not too hard to imagining why in 1988, the BBC filmed an adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis.

We walked about 5 miles up and down steep slopes and there are lots of steps and narrow paths to get around and it was very slippery in places and tree roots to try and trip you up. There are numerous health and safety warnings around.

One of the first places we came too was the the monument, which was built to honour Sir Rowland Hill, the first prominent member of the Hill family who bought this estate. He was the first protestant mayor of London during the 16th century. His great great great great grandson Sir Richard Hill had this column plus most of the other follies built after he took over the estate in 1783. There are 147 steps to the top and you are supposed to be able to see 12 counties, although it was rather too misty when we went.

The other follies we saw were: 

  • Gothic Arch which sits on top of Grotto Hill overlooking the surrounding countryside.
  • Gingerbread Hall which is a thatched, open sided wooden building where originally you could wait for our tour guide and buy gingerbread! 
  • The Retreat which is a simple man made alcove carved into the cliff face with seating.
  • The Hermitage which is a thatched wooden building.
  • The White Tower, although it is now red.
  • The Urn which is a tribute to a English Civil War ancestor
We also enjoyed the various tunnels and the grotto (you need a torch) made by the Romans mining the sandstone.

It was a lovely walk, and the girls did enjoy the Halloween trail, although I felt it was a little expensive at £2 for a small gift of a chocolate at the end!

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