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.