If you go down to the Lowther woods today, deep into its gardens, you’re in for a big surprise. For somewhere beyond the old rose garden, far into the medieval woodland, a Lost Castle is being revealed.
Lowther Castle has announced plans for the opening of Britain’s largest wooden children’s play area in July 2016. The hand-built, architecturally designed playground is made from 11 miles of sustainably sourced timber and is the brainchild of Jim Lowther, built by the Curious Adventure Play company. It is being built high in the tree canopy, its design echoing the castle itself.
Lowther Castle was built in 1806 by the 1st Earl of Lonsdale to the designs of the architect Robert Smirke, but the site dates back to the 12th century. Lowther’s grand ambition is to uncover and restore the extensive 17th century gardens, becoming a centre of horticultural excellence in the North. Avenues of ancient Yew trees, a magnificent limestone terrace, enchanting summerhouses and acres of woodland are all still here to be enjoyed. Chelsea award winning landscape architect Dan Pearson is adding to the garden’s 21st century heritage by planting the inside of Lowther’s ruin and bringing new layers of mystery to the terrace, the courtyard and the rose garden.
Jim Lowther said, “I spent my childhood wandering through these woods, discovering old and new, revisiting this enchanted place with my own children. I have always wanted to create a playground that captured the spirit of Lowther– its ghosts and its past glories. When my father removed the roof of Lowther in the 1950s, he brought one era to an end. With the creation of the Lost Castle, we are embarking on a new era and I hope to capture and share the magic of Lowther with generations of children to come.”
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