A major historical feature in the care of Kingwood Heritage Museum opens its gates to the public again on Bank Holidays 5/6 May and 26/27 May, from 11.00am. And if you can’t make any of those dates, the Friends of the Museum are conducting a guided walk on 12 May, commencing at 2.00pm.

When William Champion’s zinc making business in Warmley became successful in the  eighteenth century, he built himself an elegant and imposing new house at the heart of his works. The surrounding gardens he added were particularly impressive, laid out in the then popular Dutch style. An essential feature of any large garden of that era was a grotto, and Champion’s is thought to be the most extensive man-made grotto in the west country.

Another focal point was the large lake which was not only ornamental but also provided the water supply for the works. In the centre of the lake was an eight metre high stature of the Roman god Neptune with his trident. This is still there, and is believed to be the largest garden statue now standing in the country.

To complete the month of grotto-related activity, the next talk in the Museum’s 2019 season takes place on Monday 13 May, commencing at 7.30pm, when the speakers will be Margaret and Gerald Hull: their title is “A historical survey of the English grotto in landscape gardens”.

Margaret and Gerald are acknowledged experts in this field, and have recently published their book covering the work of the eighteenth century grotto master builders, Joseph and Josiah Lane of Tisbury, Wiltshire. The talk will chart the aesthetic and architectural development of the concept, with over 100 of the Hulls’ own illustrations of grottoes throughout the country, and will put the examples of Warmley and Goldney House, Clifton, in context.

For further information on any of these events, contact the Museum on 0117 960 5664, or via email at [email protected]