Grotto House, Grotto Pond & Morton Pond

The Grotto was originally constructed in the late 1790s at the instigation of Duchess Georgiana, but was much altered by the 6th Duke in the 1820s. It is built of massive boulders and contains a rectangular room decorated with stalactites [unfortunately this is not open to visitors]; this is surmounted by a rustic timber bandstand with a conical slate roof.

The Grotto Pond was probably constructed at a similar time to Morton’s Pond (1700) and was designed to supply the new Canal Pond.

In 1992 the overflow from the stream leaving the Grotto Pond was turned into a water feature, the ‘Trough Waterfall’, using a series of stone drinking troughs gathered from the nearby fields and farm steadings.

Originally, Morton Pond was called the Great Fountain Pond referring to its function as the supply pond for the 1st Duke’s Great Fountain in the Canal Pond. When the Emperor Fountain was constructed, the pipe from Morton Pond to the 1st Duke’s Great Fountain became defunct, but still exists. Duchess Deborah describes Morton Pond as ‘the least known place in the garden where you can sit alone by the water on the on the busiest Bank Holiday’.

The Drummer (1989-90) by Barry Flanagan is situated at the north end of the Grotto Pond and was acquired by the present Duke and Duchess to commemorate their coming to live at Chatsworth in 2006.