Saturday, 2 April 2011

My  Landmark of the  Week
Hackfall  Ruin

However well we get to know our buildings, they can still surprise us. It took Landmark some 15 years to acquire this little pavilion, dramatically perched above a steep wooded gorge in the remnants of an outstanding mid-eighteenth-century picturesque garden at Hackfall. The garden was conceived and created by the Aislabies, who also made the gardens at nearby Studley Royal. Hackfall was Studley’s antithesis: a ‘natural’ Gothic landscape with follies, waterfalls and built structures. The Ruin is one of these, a tiny banqueting house which we have allowed to keep its eighteenth-century name, trusting our visitors to share the Aislabies’ sense of irony.

The Ruin is a typically Janus-faced Georgian folly: smoothly Gothic on its public elevation, which leads through to a rugged, Romanesque, triple-domed ‘ruin’ redolent of ancient Rome and Piranesi, and framing a terrace set before one of the finest views in North Yorkshire. It had indeed become a ruin when we set our stonemasons to work to sift, stitch and point it back together. Work was well underway when we had our surprise – a discovery that was, in fact, entirely consistent with Hackfall’s pedigree. Our building archaeologist noticed a striking similarity between The Ruin’s Romanesque elevation and a watercolour, Design for a Roman Ruin, by Robert Adam. It offers an unusual example of the work of this greatest of eighteenth-century British architects, better known for his more formally Classical houses and interiors.

The three rooms enclosed by this unique exterior never communicated with each other, and we have kept them so. A richly decorated sitting-room is flanked by a bedroom and bathroom; flitting between the two wings across a moonlit terrace is a truly Gothic experience.

Sleeps: 2

  • Solid fuel stove
  • Small garden
  • Parking nearby

Please Note

The terrace is open to walkers on certain days. Please contact the Booking Office for further details. Open Days are held at The Ruin annually. Please check 'Visiting Landmarks' on our website for details.

Our youngest spent his honeymoon here.
On the Sunday morning he was returning to the bedroom from a visit to the bathroom, which is only reached by walking outside, when he encountered three ramblers. 
I don't know who was the more surprised - the ramblers or our naked son.

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