Created in the 18th century by the Hill family, the park is now recognised, according to the leaflet, as 'a masterpeice of the School of Naturalistic Landscape' and is Grade I listed by English Heritage.
It embodies all the eccentricities of both the Gothic and Romantic ideals of the age; and even though it is very strenuous it is great fun. When Samuel Johnson visited Hawkstone in 1774 he described the follies as having 'striking scenes and terrifick grandeur'.
Above, along Reynard's walk, you can see the recess in the red sandstone rock called Reynard's Banqueting House. There were steep pathways and steps and hidden nooks.....
places to hide, amongst branches.....
.....and roots in the Dragon Wood whose paths led to
the Monument, which Paul climbed but this time, I declined and sat amongst the trees whilst he surveyed the landscape. The monument was erected in 1785 by Sir Richard Hill to comemorate his ancestor Sir Rowland Hill, first protestant Lord Mayor of London. It is 100ft high and from the top there is a panoramic view of all the surrounding counties.
We clambered over the Swiss bridge, trying not to look down........
then under the Swiss bridge, were we really up there? ...
and into the grotto. You need a torch! We didn't have a torch! If you go, take one, you won't regret it.
In the grotto you will meet, Arthur King of the Britions and read the tale of the silver chalice found in the 1920s. Grotto Hill was thought to be a 5th century copper mine which was turned into a place of wonder by Sir Richard Hill with shell decoration and false stalactites.
Once you are in the grotto there are windows to light your way
the awful precipice, but the most spectacular feature for me was on the way up to the grotto.
The Cleft runs under the Swiss bridge and is a deep chasm between two rocks which is the stuff of both dreams and nightmares. Damp, mossy green and lichen coated walls and slippery steps.
It was like a living illustration from the fairy tale books I read as a child, or the ideal venue for the start of an adventure for The Famous Five or The Secret Seven.