Thursday, 5 January 2012
Druids Temple, North Yorkshire
Although this wasn't the actual goal for my recent walk around Masham District, this oddity certainly made for a worthy detour. I'm talking about the Druid's Temple on the Swinton Estate. Just a few hundred feet from the car park, I walked up along the estate track and this bizarre sight was just round the corner.
As you approach the Druids Temple a number of standing stones mark a ceremonial avenue that leads the way.
The Druid's Temple is a folly, built in the 1820s by William Danby, the squire of Swinton. He paid locals one shilling a day to build his temple and generate work. He also offered a salary to someone willing to live at the site as a hermit for seven years. The story has it that one man attempted this and lived there for five years but did not manage the full seven.
You enter the temple through the archway and as well as a mini Stonehenge you get to see altars, menhirs, dolmens and a cave at the back of the temple.
An impressive column of stones is situated atop a small incline just over the Temple and reigns over the scene.
It really is a fascinating site, and it is always surprising to come across such features in the landscape, and this is a fairly well hidden curiousity worth seeking out. Similar to the follys close to West Burton, this is another example of the strange and eccentric structures you come across over the place and well worth hunting out.