Hawkstone Park and Follies was created in the 18th century by Sir Rowland Hill and is now an English Heritage designated Grade I landscape. It was Britainís first tourist park. The 100 acres of countryside are complete with ravines, arches, bridges, woodlands, and caves.
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There are hidden pathways, concealed grottos, secret tunnels and fantasy castle follies. Paths twist and turn and reveal unexpected vistas, cliffs and valleys. There is a tower to climb with a view that covers twelve counties. There is even a gingerbread hall.
Wellington was one of the famous visitors to Hawkstone Park in the early 19th century. A scene in the White Tower shows Wellington and General Lord Hill talking about the Waterloo battle plans. The parkland was one of the locations for the BBC TVís show, Land of Narnia.
For wildlife lovers, deer can be spotted roaming the park. Within the grounds are a hotel (thereís been one here since 1790, then called the Hawkstone Inn), restaurants, and a golf course. Itís a great family attraction.
Hawkstone Park and Historic Follies
Weston-under-Redcastle, near Shrewsbury, Shropshire
Tel. 0 1948 841 777
Open: mid Feb-end Oct, 10am-5pm; contact by phone or email at Hawkstone Follies
Allow minimum three hours for visit; tea-room; picnic area; shop; visitor centre. If possible bring your own torch for tunnels and caves as they are needed. If you donít have a torch they are available for purchase.
Web: Hawkstone Park Follies
Photos © by Barbara Ballard