Historic Harrogate beauty spot reopens after major restoration

Restored and reopened - Plompton Rocks between Harrogate and Wetherby.

Restored and reopened - Plompton Rocks between Harrogate and Wetherby.

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One of Harrogate's finest beauty spots is reopening this weekend after a stunning facelift.

Having been closed for months, the newly-restored Plumpton Rocks are also making a starring role as 'Wild Cat Island' in the BBC’s new feature length film adaptation of Swallows and Amazons which will be released next month.
Considered to be one of the finest 18th Century landscapes in the North of England, this the renowned Grade 2* listed garden has just completed a major restoration programme and will open to the public from this Saturday, July30.
The gardens described by Queen Mary as, ‘Heaven on Earth’, are also making a starring role as Wild Cat Island in the BBC’s new feature length film adaptation of Swallows and Amazons which will be released next month.
The three year project achieved the restoration of the parkland, lake, woodland and perhaps most importantly, the magnificent Grade 2 listed dam designed by John Carr of York in the 1760s.
Located five miles east of Harrogate Over the last few decades the lake had gradually silted up and the major 18th Century vistas, the 35-acre 18th century landscape garden and grounds have been owned by the Plumpton family since at least the Norman Conquest, with a period of ownership also by the Lascelles Family of Harewood House for just under 200 years.
Once a medieval deer park and fish ponds, the present owner who has helmed the restoration is Robert de Plumpton Hunter.
The main parts of the work were:
The 36 acre former parkland had been ploughed up in 1982 and the original individual specimen parkland trees had been lost.
The restoration has allowed for the fields to be reverted back to grassland with 80 individual parkland trees planted.
Over the last 250 years the lake has gradually silted up.
This meant a large portion of the northern part of the lake had been lost and had become over grown with self-seeding trees.
The view looking south towards the Dam and Lover’s Leap had been lost.
The dam is Grade 2 Listed but over the last hundred years had lost 5 of its 6 ball finials. These have been reinstated and the dam has been repointed.

The gardens have received substantial grant funding from Natural England under a Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, Historic England and the Country Houses Foundation whose primary objective is to support the preservation of buildings of historic or architectural significance together with their gardens and ground, for the public benefit.

Plumpton Rocks is open to the public Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays March to October from 11am to 6pm.

It will also be open every day in August.

www.plumptonrocks.com