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A Hidden Gem - The Peckforton Estate Dovecote

03/07/20
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Just sometimes we post a story about a hidden historical gem on The Sandstone Ridge.

Some months ago, we wrote about the curiosity at Peckforton known as 'The Elephant and Castle'; a striking piece of Victorian craftsmanship which was carved from local sandstone in 1859 by Master Stonemason, John Watson, who at that time was working on Peckforton Castle. CLICK HERE

Today we share with you another remarkable curiosity, also at Peckforton, and which many of you may not have seen previously — the restored Victorian 'Dovecote', situated just off the Peckforton Castle driveway.

Dovecotes have been a feature of the British landscape for over a thousand years, and were functional structures in which the young birds, called squabs, were housed and highly valued for their tender and tasty meat.

As part of a Sandstone Ridge ECOnet Project (SREP) in 2007/8, the restoration and preservation of this historic feature took place. In addition, a permissive path was secured thereby providing access, and an interpretation panel was also installed.

At that time, the Peckforton Dovecote was surrounded by tall conifer trees, many of which had fallen during successive storm weather and created damage to this historic building.

It is thought that the Dovecote and the Lodge were built at the same time as Peckforton Castle in the early 1840s, when the Estate was purchased by John Tollemache (described by William Ewart Gladstone as the greatest Estate Manager of his day).

With the help of funding from Rural Enterprise, the SREP worked with the Estate to restore this piece of remarkable heritage to its former glory.

Woodland management around the Dovecot, ensured the removal of the conifers and the area has now been planted with native broad-leaves.

Public access is provided to the Dovecote via a permissive path with links off the existing public rights of way (during the current pandemic, of course, there might be some access restrictions).

Click on each image to enlarge ...