Trail inspired by 19th century scrapbooks set to delight visitors to Barnsley's Cannon Hall
And now a new trail through the grounds of Cannon Hall near Barnsley has taken inspiration from ages past to reveal secrets of its history.
The woodland discovery trail forms part of a £3.8m National Lottery funded project and is packed with 20 free play features including a balancing beam, tepees, a Saxon hut, a willow tunnel and musical instruments.
It has been inspired by the scrapbooks of 19th resident of the hall, Winifred Spencer Stanhope who embraced photography to showcase the key events that took place at the hall.
She embellished her scrapbook with drawings of mythological creatures, including monsters and dragons, which have been brought to life as part of the new trail.
The scrapbooks are on display in the hall, meaning visitors can view them before undertaking the trail inspired by them.
Alison Cooper, exhibitions officer at Barnsley Museums, said: “The scrapbooks are crammed packed full of photographs, newspaper clippings, tickets to shows, and they are beautifully decorated as well.
“It’s a snapshot into the family life of the Spencer Stanhopes. It’s very casual and full of friends and family.
“Winifred was a very accomplished artist and she’s illustrated the books with beautiful fantastical beasts, dragons, birds of paradise, griffins as well as room interiors and modes of transport. She clearly had a very vivid imagination and it’s through these creatures that the trail was inspired.”
Another key feature of the investment is the return of boats, now permanently returned to the lake for the first time in almost 100 years after 24,000 cubic metres of silt was dredged from the water.
Two miles of new footpaths around the estate have also been created as part of the four-year-long project into improvements at the hall and parkland.
An 18th century subterranean ice house that has been closed since the 1970s has been restored and reopened – giving some dramatic views into an underground eight metre void.
Two cottages have also been renovated alongside the gardener’s cottage which is now a volunteer hub and the formerly derelict north range glass house has now been brought back to its former glory.
Coun Tim Cheetham, Barnsley Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, said: “This has been years in the making so to see it finally coming to fruition is just fantastic.
“A lot of hard work and love has been poured into this project because we all know just how much Cannon Hall and these stunning gardens mean to the people of Barnsley and Yorkshire.
“We hope it will encourage more people to visit Cannon Hall itself which is completely free to see and explore.”