Rock Garden & Strid

The Rockery was built as a reminder of the 6th Duke’s visit to the Alps during the Grand Tour of Europe. Work began in 1842 and the stone was brought from Dobb Edge, north of Stand Wood. The largest construction, the Wellington Rock, is nearly 14m high and has a waterfall running down it. There is a maze of paths threading round and beneath the rocks.

Work also began in 1842 on the excavation of the ‘Bolton Stride’ or Strid – a narrow chasm, filled with a rushing watercourse and surrounded by further rockwork. This was based on a real feature - a chasm cut by the River Wharfe - on the Duke’s Bolton Abbey estate in Yorkshire. The surrounding rocks were planted with wild currants, bilberries and other plants brought from Bolton Abbey.

In 2002-3, partial restoration was undertaken on the much collapsed higher rockery. At the same time a platform was established with views extending west across the Strid, over the Ring Pond and Serpentine Hedge, into the Park beyond.

In 2007, the present Duchess planted a collection of dark or black flowers in a border called the Dark Side, at the northern entrance to the Rock Garden.