Lake with water lillies in the foreground bordered by dramatic rock features and trees.
Plumpton Rocks and dam, Wetherby Road, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire © Historic England. DP169085 Photographed 2015 by Alun Bull
Plumpton Rocks and dam, Wetherby Road, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire © Historic England. DP169085 Photographed 2015 by Alun Bull

Historic England Awards £100,000 Grant to Complete Restoration of “Heaven on Earth”

Historic England has awarded a grant of more than £100,000 towards the restoration of Plumpton Rocks, described as “heaven on earth” by Queen Mary, the wife of King George V

Situated near Knaresborough, Plumpton Rocks is a Grade II*-listed 18th-century man-made lake. It's set against a backdrop of dramatic rock formations and surrounded by 30 acres of beautiful parkland.

Plumpton Rocks is open to the public every weekend from March to October and every day in August.

Plan a visit to Plumpton Rocks

Major restoration has halted its decline

From the late 18th century to the late 20th century, Plumpton Rocks was a celebrated pleasure ground. But it fell into decline towards the end of the last century. Eventually, it was put on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register in 2012.

The Historic England grant of £103,160 will fund essential works to the lake. This marks the final phase of a major restoration programme, which began in 2016. Historic England also gave £311,000 to fund this earlier phase which involved dredging the lake to repair its dam. In total, Historic England has contributed more than £414,000 to returning Plumpton Rocks to its former glory.

The vision of Daniel Lascelles and John Carr

It was plantation owner and politician Daniel Lascelles who created the North Yorkshire pleasure grounds. He bought the estate in the mid-1750's and landscaping began in 1755.

The lake was formed by the construction of a dam in 1755-6 to the designs of celebrated York architect John Carr.

 

Painted by JW Turner

JW Turner painted Plumpton Rocks twice in 1797. He was commissioned by the owner at the time Edward Lascelles, 1st Earl of Harewood. Both paintings now hang at Harewood House.

More recently, the site was used as one of the locations for the 2016 film adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s 'Swallows and Amazons'.

Plumpton Rocks is one of North Yorkshire’s most impressive historic gardens, and the restoration work will help to ensure it remains so for future generations. We hope many people will now visit the site to enjoy the same views that inspired Turner over 200 years ago.

Giles Proctor, Heritage at Risk Surveyor at Historic England
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