Ruined Victorian Folly – London, England - Atlas Obscura

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Ruined Victorian Folly

Remnants of a Victorian garden feature sitting in public woodland. 


Hidden in a small inner city wood are the remains of a lavish Victorian garden feature. The concrete faux-stone archways, rockery, and ornamental stream were once in the former grounds of the house Fairwood at 53 Sydenham Hill, built in about 1864. First occupied by Alderman David Henry Stone, who in 1874 was Lord Mayor of London. Shortly after moving to Fairwood Alderman Stone commissioned James Pulham & Son to build the folly.

A folly is described an expensive ornamental structure that serves no practical purpose other than it is decorative. especially a spire or mock-Gothic ruin constructed in a large public space or garden.

The site can be accessed all year via several of the muddy paths that snake through the woods, adjacent to Sydenham Golf Course. Google Maps shows the area as Dulwich Woods (the two areas of woodland interlink).

Know Before You Go

Wear sensible and practical shoes. Though the path at times is paved, there are sections that be quite muddy. There are information boards and maps dotted around, especially at various entrances. Highly suggested to take a photo of  one of the maps to use should one become disorientated.

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