Castle Carr - Yorkshire’s mysterious hidden garden
- Credit: Archant
The secret garden that has a waterfall that reaches 100 feet and can only be visited once a year.
There are many iconic gardens in Yorkshire, there are the extensive grounds at Castle Howard and we have a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Studley Royal and Fountains Abbey, but did you know that there’s a secret garden hidden away deep in the countryside of Luddenden in West Yorkshire?
Castle Carr was a grand mock medieval castle just north of Halifax and Hebden Bridge and was one of many extravagant homes built by wealthy mill owners in the Victorian era.
Ill fortune seemed to befall anyone connected to Castle Carr, the castle was commissioned by Captain Joseph Priestly Edwards in 1859, though he and his eldest son died in a railway accident before it was completed.
It took over 100 men eight years to build but the site of the castle was too isolated; the building was damp and disputes with locals over rights of way meant it was never fully inhabited and was used as a hunting lodge before being sold on.
The castle was huge; Hollywood gothic in style and scale, it stood alone and incongruous on the moors. The castle surrounded a large courtyard which had at its centre a fountain guarded by four vast stone hounds. Hounds guarded the stairs and the fireplaces inside, and it was decorated with hunting trophies.
The beautiful landscape park and ornamental water garden within the grounds of Castle Carr were created by the Water Corporation in compensation for building the nearby reservoirs. The designs were by John Hogg who also involved in parts of the design of the People’s Park in Halifax.
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Eventually the estate was sold for the water rights and the castle became derelict, being used for munitions storage during the Second World War. It was demolished in 1962 and the original stonework now litters the ground today.
The estate is now privately owned and strictly not open to the public. However, for one day every year the water gardens are opened up for a few hours to showcase the Castle Carr Fountain that reaches a full height of more than 100 feet. There is also an impressive step fountain along with plants and wildlife although exploration of the grounds is extremely limited as much of the gardens have deteriorated to a point where preservation has become the main priority.
Viewing the gardens and fountain at Castle Carr is a rare opportunity, but these photos by Yorkshire Life reader Christopher Ogden give us a glimpse of the beauty and tranquillity of this hidden part of Yorkshire.
Do you have any photos from past visits to the Castle Carr Fountain Walk days? Send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: Subject to the successful lifting of pandemic restrictions the annual opening of the grounds will take place in late July or early August.