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.

Since 2018 we have been remodelling the Rock Garden in order to provide improved access as well as mass perennial planting providing summer-long interest. This phase of transformation is due to complete in 2021.
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