Hawkstone Park and Follies gears up for a busy summer
Hawkestone Park Follies, near Weston under Redcastle, opened its 100-acre lot last month as part of the second stage of the government’s easing of restrictions.
He is now preparing for the third stage of Monday’s easing, which includes the possibility for larger groups to meet outside.
The Follies staff are also planning an adventurous week in the midst of nature, from May 29 to June 6, when kids can explore caves, find trolls, cross bridges, climb towers, build dens, observe the sea. wildlife and let off steam.
The Grade 1 listed park was a tourist attraction over 200 years ago – one of Britain’s most visited landscaping in the 19th century. In its original heyday, plants from all over the world were transported to its arboretum, and herds of Eland, a type of antelope, roamed the ground. It was even home to exotic birds and monkeys at one point.
Visitors were able to take guided tours of the follies and the cave – a complex of caves carved out of the sandstone – and received lemonade and gingerbread in a special Gingerbread room, always on site.
But when the last member of the Hill family who owned Hawkstone was declared bankrupt, the landscape became overgrown and forgotten, known only to locals.
That was until 30 years ago when a multi-million pound restoration project took place which led to its reopening in 1993.
Howard Fox, the director of follies, said the staff expected a busy year.
“We opened the park under government restrictions on April 12 and it has already turned out to be very busy,” he said.
“If anything good has come out of the terrible situation we find ourselves in, it’s that it made people look and appreciate their surroundings and enjoy the outdoors.
“We’ve been busy last year and expect to be busy this year.
“We have great spaces in Hawkstone which are great for social distancing and we will continue to limit tickets so people can always feel safe.
Mr Fox said people were understandably nervous about venturing out after the lockdown.
“I was very nervous when we opened in April but it’s so good to see people come here and have a good time.”
“It will be good from next week to see larger groups of people able to come together outside and enjoy being together in a safe environment.”
“We are still not going to open our tearooms and are actively encouraging people to bring picnics they can enjoy, on the go.”
Visitors are recommended to wear suitable footwear, take torches with them, and be warned that the follies area is not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers. These can only use the entrance area and the big valley.
“People should dress for the weather as well. We have found that visitors come regardless of the weather, kids love to splash in puddles in rubber boots and raincoats,” Fox said.
Additionally, the ability to explore the park using a map allows visitors to book a guide or use safari transport for an additional fee.