Folly In Ripon, North Yorkshire
A folly based on Stonehenge with two large stone circles, an altar, sacrificial stone and a tomb area.
In modern times if you wanted to show off a bit you might turn up in a fancy car, or show someone how many TikTok likes your video has, or simply asking them to pull your finger.
But a few hundred years ago, the best way to demonstrate your affluence was to build a folly. There are some splendid examples of follies in the north including Sharp's Folly and the newly discovered (to us) Sorrelsykes Follies, but the Druid's Temple is a little different.
A chap called William Danby, who was a former Sheriff of Yorkshire owned some land called Swinton Park, near Masham and had a huge fascination with Stonehenge.
Like Sharp's Folly in Rothbury, sometimes the follies weren't just built for grandstanding, but were also constructed to provide employment to local builders. Druid's Temple was assembled for the same reason to help local unemployed workmen.
Heading through the doorway we have a small stone altar followed by a central column surround by four monolithic standing stones.
Behind this central area are 3 stones which act as a screen to an antechamber.
The antechamber has a flat sacrificial stone surround by lower stones although it does resemble a nice picnic table.
Then finally we have the tomb, but the mood is softened with a cute pair of red paw prints on the wall.
Then heading up the bank behind the temple there is another stone column.
Turn around and you will probably get the best view of the Druid's Temple.
If you have further mooch around there are more standing stones and columns in the forest area.
Follow the path beyond the temple and you will come to the Druid's Viewpoint with beautiful views over Leighton Reservoir.
Loop around and the path will take you past two huge structures in the forest known as the Druid's Seats.
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Just a short few minute walk from the car park to the temple.
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There is a large parking area near the cafe with an honesty box. If you don't have cash on you, you can pay for parking in the cafe. All helps to the up keep of the temple.
Contributed by Simon Hawkins
Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue Pele tower up a remote hill or a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.
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