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Rudding Park


Rudding Park is an early-19th-century landscaped park of 107 hectares, forming the setting for a country house. There are also mid-20th-century gardens by James Russell.


The site stands on the edge of the Pennine Range, with the land falling away to the east to Crimple Beck.
The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):

Early 19th-century landscaped park, forming the setting for a country house, with mid-20th-century gardens by James Russell. Humphry Repton drew up a Red Book in 1790, but the exact extent of his contribution to the development of the site is unknown.



Rudding Park lies on the outskirts of Harrogate in North Yorkshire, immediately to the north-west of Follifoot village. It covers c 107ha and stands on the edge of the Pennine Range, with the land falling away to the east to Crimple Beck, beyond which are distant views over the Vale of York to York Minster. The A658 forms the south-east boundary, Rudding Lane wraps around the south-west and north-west boundaries, while the north-east faces onto farmland.


The present (late C20) access to Rudding Park is off Rudding Lane, but the early C19 main Rudding Gate with its Ionic arch, flanked by lodges (listed grade II), stands in the village of Follifoot to the south-east. From here the drive crossed the park, past the south end of the lake, to the east front of the House but since the building of the A658 the lodges and part of the drive have been separated from the body of the park. A second drive enters the northernmost corner of the park through a pair of early C19 iron gates between piers surmounted by stone bulls' heads (listed grade II), and leads past the complex of The Stables (formerly the Home Farm), the late C17 Dower House (listed grade II) and the sawmill to arrive at the east front.


Rudding Park House (listed grade I) is a large, two-storey mansion of ashlar with a Westmorland slate roof, sitting to the north-west of centre, facing east over the park towards the lake. Built for the Hon William Gordon, it was begun in 1805 and completed after 1824 following the demolition of the old house which stood a little to the south-west. The design of the house is in the style of Wyatt but the original architect is unknown. In 1824 Gordon sold the unfinished property to Sir Joseph Radcliffe who commissioned the Leeds parish church architect R D Chantrell to complete it.

On the west side of the House stands the early C19 stable block (R D Chantrell, listed grade II), which has been linked to the House as part of the hotel development.


Beneath the south facade of the House is a large lawn planted with mature cedars. The lawn is separated from the stable courtyard behind the House by a high stone wall which continues the line of the House on the south side. In front of the wall is a terrace, terminated at its west end by a Grecian-style garden room, designed by Claude Phillimore in the 1950s for Sir Everard Radcliffe. The small parterre designed by James Russell and laid out on this terrace no longer survives. The wooded pleasure grounds, redeveloped in the 1950s by Sir Everard with the help of James Russell, stretch west from the House to the brick-walled kitchen garden. Their focus is a mid C19 marble vase (listed grade II) which is said to have come from the old Crystal Palace and which may have been designed by Joseph. From the vase, paths radiate through the woods, some of which lead to the walled garden. The semi-formal rose garden planted by Sir Everard on the east side of the walled garden, on the site of an early C19 rose garden, has been grassed over. Car parks have been put into the pleasure grounds to the north of the House, and around the chapel (A E Purdie 1874, listed grade II) which stands c 50m from the House.


The park is enclosed by a stone wall and a system of shelter belts. The Harrogate to Knaresborough Southern Bypass (A658), constructed in the early 1990s, cuts across the southern part of the site. A new park wall has been built within it, but the road severs the south drive from the Rudding Gate in Follifoot village. The western park forms a level plateau while the parkland to the east falls away to the system of lakes which runs north/south through the eastern half of the park. The House is separated from the park on the east side by a ha-ha. Despite the park having been severely damaged by gales in 1962, when 2000 trees were lost, it retains much early planting. An 18-hole golf course has been formed within the park, together with a clubhouse, driving range and greenkeepers buildings.


The walled kitchen garden is entered from the pleasure grounds via a gateway with wrought-iron gates and overthrow (listed grade II). This wall was built in the early C19 for Sir Joseph Radcliffe to divide the rose garden from the kitchen garden and it is likely that the remaining walls were constructed at the same time, to accompany the rebuilding of the House. A pavilion designed by Claude Phillimore, in the mid C20, stands within the garden opposite the gates. The interior of the garden was laid out in the mid C20 by Sir Everard and James Russell but the area has been incorporated into the caravan site and holiday chalet complex developed, since 1972, both here and in Park Wood in the north west-corner of the site.


Peacock's Polite Repository (July 1792)

H Repton, Sketches and Hints on Landscape Gardening (1794), pp 58-9

Country Life, 105 (4 February 1949), pp 254-7; (11 February 1949), pp 310-11; 149 (24 June 1971), pp 1592-4

D Stroud, Humphry Repton (1962), p 53

H Evans, Beautiful gardens of Britain (1974), pp 107-8

K Lemmon, Gardens of Britain 5, (1978), pp 106-10

G Carter et al, Humphry Repton (1982), p 164


Tithe map for Follifoot, 1848 (North Yorks Record Office)

OS 6" to 1 mile: 1st edition surveyed 1846-7

Archival items

Humphry Repton, Account Books (Norfolk County Record Office)

Description written: January 2000

Amended: December 2004

Edited: April 2000

Visitor Access, Directions & Contacts

Access contact details

The site is now in use as a hotel, restaurant, golf club, wedding and conference facility. There is also a campsite.


The site is just south of Harrogate, off the A658. Please see:


Mackaness family


The following is from the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest. For the most up-to-date Register entry, please visit the The National Heritage List for England (NHLE):


Rudding Park was originally part of the forest of Knaresborough and some of the ancient oaks were retained within the parkland. In the early 18th century, Rudding was owned by a Mr Williamson of Wetherby. He sold it to a Mr Craddock who in turn sold it to James Collins who enlarged the house and planted avenues in the park. Collins was succeeded by Thomas Wilson, following whose death in 1778 the estate was purchased in 1788 by Alexander Wedderburn, Lord Loughborough and Earl of Rosslyn. On acquiring Rudding, Loughborough called in Humphry Repton (1752-1818) to put forward suggestions for the redesigning of the garden and park. Repton's first recorded visit was in 1790 and he quotes from the Red Book he prepared in his Sketches (1794), has entries for the work in his account books, and also uses an illustration of Rudding for Peacock's Polite Repository. The Red Book was sold at Sothebys in 1916 and its present whereabouts (2000) is unknown, so the extent of Repton's contribution to the site remains unclear. Following the death of Loughborough in 1805 the estate was sold to the Hon William Gordon. He demolished the old house and began work on a new mansion on a different site. In 1824, with the house still unfinished, Gordon sold the property to Sir Joseph Radcliffe who employed R D Chantrell to complete it. The estate remained in the Radcliffe family until sold by Captain Sir Everard and Lady Radcliffe to Mr MacKaness in 1972. Sir Everard redeveloped the garden in the 1950s with the help of James Russell, building a terrace and garden room. Mr MacKaness converted the kitchen garden into a caravan park after 1972 and the house into a hotel and conference centre. In the early 1980s the redundant farm buildings to the north of the site, previously Home Farm, then The Stables, were sold off for a private housing development known as Rudding Dower. The site remains (2004) in multiple ownership.

Associated People
Features & Designations


  • The National Heritage List for England: Register of Parks and Gardens

  • Reference: GD1367
  • Grade: II


  • Hotel (featured building)
  • Earliest Date:
  • Specimen Tree
  • Description: Some ancient oaks, part of the forest of Knaresborough, remain within the parkland.
  • Kitchen Garden
  • Description: The kitchen garden is now a caravan park.
Key Information





Principal Building






Open to the public


Civil Parish