The countryside around Stourhead
There are lots of fascinating places to explore in the grounds at Stourhead and surrounding countryside.
King Alfred's Tower
This triangular tower, two miles north-west of the garden, was designed by Henry Flitcroft for Stourhead's second owner, Sir Henry Hoare II. The Tower is named after King Alfred who raised his standard here in 870. The tower commemorates the accession of George III in 1760 and the end of the Severn Years War.
Whitesheet Hill is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest. It offers some fantastic views, with Stourhead House and King Alfred’s Tower to the west and the Blackmore Vale to the south-east. Whitesheet is also home to diverse wildlife, including orchids and butterflies.
Six Wells Bottom
The streams which feed the lake in the garden start here. From the dam, you can look east into this open valley which once formed part of an enclosed, medieval deer park. St Peter’s Pump was erected in the valley in 1768 over the first springs of the Stour. The pump formerly stood near St Peter’s Church in Bristol.
Turner paddock waterwheel
The current waterwheel dates from the 19th century. It provided water to Stourton parish until the 1950’s, pumping it up from Turner’s paddock lake. A watermill was recorded on the same site in the Doomsday book. Turner’s paddock is named after the landscape artist JMW Turner, who painted this spot in 1799.
The parkland spans three sides of the Palladian villa. The area behind the house is called Great Oar Meadow. This hay meadow has had no fertilisers added for 14 years and is now a habitat for rare, native orchids and other flora. Within the meadow you can also see the Obelisk, first built in 1746.
The tenant farms
There are four working tenant farms on the estate. Each of our long term tenant farmers manages approximately 500 areas using a mix of arable and livestock grazing. Three of the four farms operate within the government’s stewardship (HLS) scheme which promotes conservation in farmland.
If you want to explore more of Stourhead, pick up one of our 5 way–marked walks leaflet from the shop or visitor reception.