Unlike the castle, which is only visible from certain vantage points and is otherwise romantically concealed by trees and natural landscape features, our obelisk can be seen for miles around. It stands on a hill lying just west of the main Malvern Hills range and it was put up when building work started on the castle in 1812. It is listed Grade II*
The obelisk is a monument to various distinguished members of the Somers Cocks family, my maternal ancestors, the greatest of whom was John Somers, Lord Chancellor in 1700 and adviser to William III, William of Orange who arrived from the Netherlands with the Glorious Revolution in 1688. Another is Philip James Cocks, an intelligence officer on Wellington’s staff, who died at the siege of Burgos in the Peninsular War on 8th October 1812, six months after work had started on the castle. His father, later 1st Earl Somers, commissioned Robert Smirke, the architect of the castle, to build the obelisk at the same time and also found a space to add his own name to it.
After the last two hard winters and some repairs in the 1970s, when some defective material were used, the facing stone in areas of the obelisk started to fall off. We fenced it off to keep visitors at a safe distance, and earlier this year were lucky enough to be awarded grants from English Heritage and the Country Houses Foundation to help cover the costs of repair. The contract was awarded to Nimbus Conservation of Frome, aptly named for a project that will take the stonemasons close to the clouds. Next year, we hope to finish the project with restoration of the lettering, without which the monument loses most of its point.
James Hervey-Bathurst 21st Sept 2011
The cottages at Eastnor are, with one or two exceptions, let to people who live and work locally and some for the estate. It is better to have cottages lived in all the time rather than just at weekends, and many families looking to buy in the area like to rent for a time while they look for a suitable property.
However, we decided to change our policy for Peacock Villa and Golden Gates Lodge. The first was formerly a gamekeeper’s cottage and is in the top end of the deer park on the edge of a wood, just off the Worcestershire Way. When last occupied, it had well water and electricity supplied by a diesel generator. There was no central heating. Access was ideally by a 4×4 so although habitable, it was not particularly comfortable by modern standards. When the last tenants left, we decided to defer re-letting until we could budget for a full make-over.
The process has been completed, electricity installed, water supply upgraded and a full refurbishment has taken place and now transformed in to holiday lets through Stately Holiday Homes.
The second, Golden Gates Lodge, is in the middle of the Park, straddling the limestone ridge that runs from the foot of the British Camp to the main entrance of the Castle. It is now available for let and we hope they will prove a useful add-on to our business and add to the tourism offer of Herefordshire.
We hosted the very successful Original Source Mountain Mayhem event again this year, and over 2650 competitors and even more supporters and spectators arrived in the Park for the weekend of 18/20th June. The event is now well established here, and if we can find enough routes to offer annual changes for the course, we hope it will stay. At other times, the Park is not open to mountain bikers, which helps to make Mountain Mayhem special.
The races are divided into a number of categories so almost everyone has a chance to compete. One year, I saw a man on a monocycle but never discovered if he was in a class of his own, though in one sense, of course, he was. The course snakes around the Park and nearby land, with a good mixture of hill work and some water crossings. The races are endurance tests and last 24 hours. This year it all went very well and was a credit to the organisers, and, to some extent, the dry weather, which made the going easier.
As boys, my brother and I used to ride our bikes in the Park too, but with unsprung Raleighs and Sturmey Archer Three Speed gears. Going to watch Mountain Mayhem and seeing all the trade stands reminds us how much off-road biking has developed. I still ride my 40 year old Raleigh, although I stick to the roads as much as possible, with only the occasional downhill run on the grass ……and no Lycra! JH-B
Holiday Cottages Malvern
This is the rather surprising name of an old keeper’s cottage, which is up against the southern boundary of New’s Wood , a Site of Special Scientific Interest on the edge of the Eastnor Park, close to the Worcestershire Way, Midsummer Hill and the Obelisk in the Park itself. I am not sure what the origin of the name is, but the cottage was let to a number of tenants after the last keeper left it. My father used to remark that any children who lived there and had to walk over a mile to Eastnor School had very good complexions.
After several years standing empty, the cottage has been converted into a three- bedroom, two-bathroom furnished holiday cottage. We have maintained the original exterior, but transformed the interior with a new kitchen with open dining area at the front of the house. There is a twin room downstairs and two doubles upstairs. We fitted a second bathroom on the landing between the two upstairs rooms. New heating and hot water systems, with a high level of insulation, guarantee comfort in all seasons. When the final touches have been applied, it will be Four-Star rated.
Peacock Villa has a fantastic location. You wind up a steep road along the side of Midsummer Hill, the summit of which, the site of an Iron Age Camp, is owned by the National Trust, and then drop down towards the site of Gullet Quarry, before entering the Park, hugging the perimeter fence and finally arriving, a good half mile from the main road. The cottage faces south and looks out across open parkland. The occasional walker passes by, as do Land Rovers as they slowly emerge from one of their nearby test tracks. Otherwise it is haven of peace and quiet, and ideal as a base for exploring the footpaths of the Malvern Hills or attending one of our Park events.
For more information simply visit our website ….
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