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Plumpton Rocks


OS grid reference:- SE 357 540

Temple NewshamDescribed by Queen Mary as "Heaven on Earth", Plumpton Rocks, near the North Yorkshire village of Follifoot, is also referred to as "the epitome of the picturesque garden". It is a Grade II listed landscape garden extending to over 30 acres and including an idyllic lake, dramatic Millstone Grit rock formations and woodland paths winding through bluebells and rhododendrons.

The site was once the seat of the Plumpton family. It was purchased in 1755 by Daniel Lascelles, who created the present gardens against a backdrop of towering wind eroded Millstone Grit.

The highest point of rock adjacent to the lake is called Lovers' Leap, the striking rocks were given names such as Lion's Den, Echo Rock and Needle's Eye. The lake was extended by a dam built by John Carr, architect of Plompton Hall. Carr appears to have been influenced by Vanbrugh's work at Castle Howard, as the dam is constructed of massive blocks of stone and designed to give an Arcadian feel. On the death of Lascelles they were inherited by his brother and became part of the Harewood Estate.

The artist J.M.W. Turner was commissioned by Edward Lascelles, 1st Earl of Harewood to produce two paintings of the lake and rocks which are now displayed at Harewood House. This was Turner's first commission in oils. He also did a number of studies and sketches which also survive.

In the 1950s, part of the registered park and garden was purchased by descendants of the Plumpton family. Placed on the At Risk register by English Heritage in 2012, the grounds began to attract funding, with Historic England, the Country Houses Foundation and Natural England all stepping in. After a 700,000 restoration lasting three years, Plumpton Rocks was restored to its former glory. Once ploughed fields have now been reverted to grasslands, parkland trees have been planted, the lake cleared and the dam restored.

The park was a filming location for Wild Cat Island in the BBC's feature length film adaptation of Swallows and Amazons. It is currently operated as a tourist attraction by the owner Robert de Plumpton Hunter.

Directions

Plumpton Rocks is situated between Harrogate & Wetherby on A661, 1m SE of A661 junction with the Harrogate southern bypass.




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