The Grotto

The Grotto at the top end of the valley overlooks the uppermost pool. It seems that the upper portion of the valley has been developed as the most likely pleasure area during what is described as the Picturesque Landscape Period of the late 18th and early 19th century. The Dam across what we call, quite simply, Pool Seven, once held back the water in the now empty pool. Standing in the empty pool at the lowermost level it was clearly once quite deep. Built into the dam is a small culvert that allows water to pass through and tumble down a cascade. Anyone sitting in the Grotto would have been accompanied by the sound of the water as it bubbled and tumbled over the cascade.

It is not known when the Grotto was constructed, but grotto’s have been popular in landscaping for centuries as indicated by this little verse composed by Samuel Garth.

A Grott there was with hoary Moss 0‘ ergrown,

Rough with rude Shells, and arch’d with mouldring Stone; 

Sad Silence reigns within the loansom Wall;

And weeping Rills but whisper as they fall.

The clasping Ivys up the Ruin creep;

And there the Bat, and drowsie Beetle sleep.

This 1715 poem could be a description of the Grotto as it looks today.

 

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John Parsons