This week Woodchester Mansion near Stroud, Gloucester is first up in my "local hot spots" series which is shrouded in mystery with a haunting reputation to suit.
The Mansion has had a rocky history since construction started in 1857 where the ambitious owner William Leigh had big visions of grand gothic architecture. Sadly it seems he struggled to bring this idea to fruition as the Mansion was never completed to it's full potential. It has been said the workers just put down their tools one day never to return! Could this be lack of money or were evil forces at work?..
Before you reach the building itself there is a long winding path through some woodland where the valley slowly rises up and looms over you on either side. I don't think you would want to navigate this at night...
Walking down the hill the Mansion springs into sight and you can see where the reports of hauntings and ghostly tales spring from. The gothic lines & styling really give this place a foreboding presence.
Woodchester park has multiple footpaths that run all around the grounds of the Mansion. We stuck to the most direct route that runs down through the woodland and toward the boat house.
As you can see from the exterior William Leigh really wanted the Mansion to have a gothic appeal like these Gargoyles that run along the outer wall. On closer inspection they look to be different animals including a dog, wolf & an owl.
Unfortunately due to the time of year tours around the inside of the mansion have finished so we had to stick to wandering the grounds. The grounds were a sight to behold as the trees were all kinds of soft oranges & browns as the season rolls into winter.
Following the track down the valley will lead you to a series of lakes surrounded by more age old woodland. These lakes are so sheltered due to high valley they reflect their surroundings like smooth glass.
I believe the boat house pictured above was a later addition to the park which would have housed a small rowing boat. I am sure this lake has seen many a romantic paddle down it's murky waters over the years!
Even the local wildlife joined us for a walk! (Wildlife photography definitely not my specialty!!) All in all the walk down from the car park, to the mansion and down to the lakes is about 4 miles!
I really enjoyed this visit which is the first of many local hot spots on my list! If you're in the area of Gloucestershire I would definitely recommend a visit to Woodchester park as it has some truly amazing views to offer. I will definitely be returning in the spring to have a venture inside and maybe even a ghost walk!!
Thank you for reading! If you'd like more info on the history of Woodchester you can visit the websit here —> https://www.woodchestermansion.org.uk/