Hawkstone Park – Weston, England - Atlas Obscura
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Weston, England

Hawkstone Park

Created hundreds of years ago, the magical follies and landscapes at this park were almost lost to time before being restored. 

Centered around the Downton Abbey-esque Hawkstone Hall, the grounds of Hawkstone Park are a fantastical maze of trails, follies, stone stairs, and generally otherworldly vistas, but the whole thing was almost completely forgotten and left to time and neglect before being restored. 

There has been a castle on the grounds of what is now Hawkstone Park since the 13th century, but it was not until the construction of Hawkstone Hall in the late 1600s that the estate took on the sprawling grandeur it is known for today. Under the care of one of its latter day caretakers, Sir Richard Hill, the grounds were expanded to include a number of follies, small, decorative fortresses, natural features, and even a hermitage complete with a wisdom-spewing hermit. The medieval ruins were incorporated into the landscape as well as new attractions such as a menagerie and a greenhouse. The grounds became so popular that an inn was built on site to cater to increasing number of guests. 

Unfortunately, the good times could not last. By the 20th century, interest in the site had dwindled to a slow trickle of visitors and the expansive grounds fell into disrepair. By the 1980s things had gotten so bad that the entire complex was in danger of falling apart. Many of the features had been lost in the overgrowth or crumbled with time, and something had to be done lest Hawkstone Park be forgotten to time entirely.

Luckily a group of concerned appreciators of the park banded together and were able to perform a major restoration of the grounds, which were once again opened in the mid-1990s. Today Hawkstone Park is a protected historical site that is so close to stepping into Narnia that the BBC even used it or their adaptation of the series in the late 80s.