Boot's Folly - a curious landmark with impressive views of the Peak District

A lone stone sentinel standing resolutely amidst a stark, brooding landscape, Boot's Folly is both an oddity and a remarkable sight.

Boots Folly, which overlooks Bradfield Moor and Strines Reservoir. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).
Boots Folly, which overlooks Bradfield Moor and Strines Reservoir. (Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe).

The Folly, also sometimes referred to as Strines Tower or Sugworth Tower, overlooks Bradfield Moor and Strines Reservoir offering impressive views of both.

The reservoir actually predates the Folly. It was constructed in 1869 after the Sheffield Water Committee made the decision to build four reservoirs in Bradfield Dale to impound water from the surrounding moorland to provide for Sheffield’s growing needs.

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Sheffield had previously received its water supply from the Crookesmoor dams though by the mid-19th century these were becoming inadequate.

But what about the mysterious Folly? It stands 45 feet high and can be seen across the hills north-west of Sheffield between Bradfield and Strines.

The square tower with castellated top and flagpole was constructed using leftover stone from three nearby farms.

A folly is basically a fanciful ‘castle’ built in the style of a peel tower and, as with most follies, there are differing stories as to why it was built.

Boot’s Folly was built by local construction magnate Charles Boot (1874-1945) who lived at Sugworth Hall in the valley below. It’s believed it was constructed to provide work for Sugworth Hall’s workmen during The Depression in the late 1920s.

However, there is also a theory that Boot built the tower so he could see High Bradfield churchyard where his wife, who had died in 1926, was buried.

These days the interior is bare but it originally had wood panelling and a large furnished room at the top where the Boot family could enjoy the view.

There was a spiral staircase to the top, but this was removed some years ago after a cow reportedly climbed the stairs and became stuck.

Over time the Folly fell into a state of disrepair, though it has become a recognisable local landmark and a popular one with walkers and ramblers whose curiosity it no doubt piques.

Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Technical details: Nikon D5 camera, 24-70mm lens, 1/400th second at f4, ISO160.