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There seems to be no foundation in fact for the idea that a ‘castle' existed at the Rocks in medieval times. The earliest documentary record of buildings there dates to 1686. Presumably the first landscaping activity there dates from the same period. There was more landscaping in the mid-18th century, when the avenue of limes flanking the main entrance was planted, and the wall along the Fosse Way was built. It is not unreasonable to suppose that a typical 18th century park was laid out around the Rocks at this time.

An extensive garden was laid out on the slopes of the valley to the west of the house. This probably took place in the early-19th century. A kind of grotto was created in the rock face, and a pond with a statue was built. Paths led through the woods to an ornamental footbridge, and a long staircase of stone led down to the bottom of the valley. This whole area is now so overgrown that it is difficult to reconstruct the scene there in the 19th century.

The main house at the Rocks was demolished in 1957, and the estate was divided. Since then, the park and garden have reverted to farmland and forest.

Site timeline

1957: The main house at the Rocks was demolished.

Features

specimen tree

waterfall

statue

ornamental bridge

Feature created: 1800 to 1850

There is a three-arched footbridge, which constituted a 'picturesque' feature of the 19th century garden. It is now surrounded by trees and rather redundant. Presumably it once carried a path through the woodland.

grotto

A natural fissure in the rock was utilised to create a small grotto, with a tiny pond and cascade. This area is now overgrown.

pond

This pond, now much decayed, is at the heart of the 19th century garden at the Rocks. A small statue originally stood at the centre of the pond.

steps

There is a stone staircase to the bottom of the valley. This long serpentine staircase was an unusual feature of the 19th century garden at the Rocks. It led up from the valley bottom past jumbled rocks to the picturesque site of the pond.

tunnel

A deep natural fissure in the rock face was exploited to create a tunnel which linked the house with the garden area under the rock face.