It was used to store perishable food, which could nevertheless be preserved in the cold. Ice was cut from the lake and placed at the bottom of the inner, brick-vaulted chamber, and then the food packed on top. We have no detailed record of how it was used, but my mother remembers a very old and long-retired employee telling her that cutting and carrying the ice was the worst job he had on the estate.
The bank in which it sits had been planted up with ash trees by my parents. We decided to remove them and make the bank into a more open space, giving better views to the lake from the track above it and to the castle as you approach after completing the lake path walk. After much bonfiring, weeding and spraying, the ground was deemed to be clean enough for our groundsmen, Nick and Ron, to plant the grass this autumn.
After two years as a brown scar, it is now beginning to green up. Let us hope it is not from the return of the weeds….and that it will look very good this summer. We also hope to be able to let visitors look beyond the icehouse entrance.