"The garden is transported into quite a different league by the series of dotty and delightful follies"
The gardens are well known for their unique follies and have received a lot a publicity on national TV and in the media. There are now three follies, all very large, very different and completely useless but we hope they will amuse you as you amble through the garden.
Stone Water Tower
When you enter the garden, the first of the garden's follies that you come across is the Stone Water Tower.
Richard built this folly when he discovered an antique water wheel in the grounds which had been used to pump water to the neighbouring farm and discarded when milling ceased about 1900. This wheel now lifts water to the top of the tower by buckets mounted on a belt system to fill a tank housed at the top. When full, water spouts from the mouth of one of its gargoyles. The stones used to construct the tower were rescued from the Judge's Lodgings in Hereford and the 3 gargoyles were carved by Richard from Forest of Dean sandstone.
You can also rest inside the tower, enjoy the mural painted by a local artist and watch the flock of white doves who live in the dovecote.
Glass Bottle Dome
The magnificent Glass Bottle Dome sits between the bog garden and the pond
The dome is made from 5,000 multi coloured wine bottles. The bottles are embedded in concrete quadrants supported by arches and is regarded as an architectural feat.
Over the winter, we have installed a water pump to ensure a greater depth of water in the pool inside the dome to enhance the reflection of the bottles above and introduced more plants to improve the fernery. We hope you enjoy these changes.
Giant Cuckoo Clock
The most recent folly is the water powered Giant Cuckoo Clock. It is perhaps the most ambitious folly as all aspects of the clock are driven by the movement of water. Each hour, the doors will open and the cuckoo will emerge. You will then hear the cuckoo's call as well as other bird song. Once completed, the doors will close and the cycle will repeat at the top of the following hour. If you do visit us, ensure to see the clock at about 10 minutes to the hour to watch it go through its routine.
The 7 metre high half-timbered oak tower was built by a local specialist and nestles among stately conifers. You can view some of the clock's mechanism from the ground floor and then ascend the stairs to a viewing platform from which more of the clock's workings are revealed. The bird song mechanism was made by the same organ builder who did the restoration of the singing birds at the Villa d’Este garden outside Rome.
We believe this is the world’s largest water-powered cuckoo clock and recent research has shown that it is the only water clock in the world that operates by the ancient Greek method of a direct water flow rather than moving a pendulum.
The clock has been through a deep clean and overhaul during the winter as well as some parts replaced that will hopefully drive more consistency in its operation.