Discover the follies and structures on Lyme's landscape

Lyme has a rich history spanning across six centuries, under the ownership of one family. Each generation has left their mark, slowly taming the wild medieval hunting ground into a designed landscape of follies and views.

Structures were built at strategic spots around the park to draw the eye across the landscape. Find out more about the buildings you see at Lyme and how they were used as well as structures no longer there, or were they ever there at all?

The Cage, Paddock Cottage and The Lantern
Afternoon summer sun on the Cage at Lyme, Cheshire

The Cage

An iconic view at Lyme, the original Cage was built by the warrior priest, Sir Piers V, in 1524. It was used either as a hunting lodge or a watchtower, though its name reportedly comes from its use in the 17th century as a holding prison for poachers awaiting trial. It was rebuilt in the 1730s as part of Giacomo Leoni’s works to the house. Leoni played up its fortress-like appearance but also made it more hospitable, possibly so that it could be used as a banqueting room. Later still, the Cage became a home for estate workers, though it must have been a hard experience living at the top of this windswept hill.

Views of Paddock Cottage at Lyme Cheshire

Paddock Cottage

Built from stone quarried on the estate, Paddock Cottage sits high in the south of the park. The interior is plain apart from a decorative heraldic panel, the coat of Arms of which is that of Sir Piers Legh IX. Paddock Cottage’s position, with direct sight line to the Cage, and ornate overmantle implies building was used for ‘showing off’ to guests – possibly used for dining after the hunt. It was later used as a dwelling for estate workers.

Lantern wood in glorious autumn at Lyme, Cheshire

The Lantern

The Lantern is another Lyme landmark. The top part of the sandstone tower is believed to originally have sat above the north archway of the house and was probably placed on the hill next to the woods in the 1720s. The view from the Lantern looks out over the park and the Cheshire plain. It also creates a line of sight that leads the eye from the Dining Room windows, over the gardens and to the east. It is said that if Lord Newton could see the Lantern clearly from the Dining Room, it was good enough weather for hunting.

Fancy taking a look inside?

The Cage is open every Saturday from 11am-2pm except for the third Saturday of the month when we open Paddock Cottage instead. They are both opened by volunteers so is dependent on their availability, so do look for the flag flying on top of the Cage to confirm it is open, or ring our estate office on 01663 762023 before you visit.

The Cage and Paddock Cottage are free to enter (donations towards their upkeep are welcome!). Doggy companions are welcome to walk up to the Cage, but can only enjoy the outside views (assistance dogs are welcome.)

If you would like to help us keep the Cage open more often, or have any stories, pictures or information about this special place please email Tash Camberwell on tash.camberwell@nationaltrust.org.uk

Go in search of fantastic views....

Generations made their mark on Lyme, making the most of hills and valleys, woodlands and clearings to create designed sight lines across the park and subsequent beautiful views. Here are some of our favourite views that have been created just for our enjoyment.

View from the house to the Lantern in the woodland at Lyme, Cheshire

From the house to the Lantern

Placed high on the hill, the Lantern can be seen from the eastern side of the house. It is said that if Lord Newton could see the Lantern clearly from the Dining Room, it was good enough weather for hunting. See if you can spot the tree with a 90 degree angle cut out to keep the Lantern in view!

Summer view of the Cage and the South front of the house at Lyme, Cheshire

From Knightslow Wood to the house and the Cage

Often a favourite for visitors, this beautiful view of the house and the Cage beyond is framed by the woodland of Knightslow and the hills of Saddleworth and West Yorkshire beyond.

View of the Cage from Paddock Cottage at Lyme, Cheshire

From Paddock Cottage to the Cage

Best seen from Paddock Cottage, especially during winter months when branches aren't so full of leaves, this view from the west of the park to the Cage in the north is beautifully framed by the trees in Pursefield Wood.