Expansion Plans for Woodchester Mansion

GREATLY expanded opening hours are signalling the start of Woodchester Mansion’s step up to the big league of visitor attractions.

The magnificent but unfinished Victorian Gothic building near Stroud is now open to the public almost every day until the end of October.

With a regular mini bus service to shuttle people down the hidden, National Trust owned valley, and guided tours of the unique house itself, trustees are determined Woodchester Mansion should be a best kept secret no longer.

“Awareness of this magnificent mansion has to be hugely boosted.  A whizz around this house and you come out really dazzled.  It is a nationally important treasure,” said Terry Robinson, chairman of the charitable Woodchester Mansion Trust.

“It should be visited by many more people.  I am looking to draw 50,000 visitors rather than 6,000 a year,” Mr Robinson said.

Grade One listed Woodchester Mansion dates from the mid 1850s. It was commissioned by William Leigh but then the Victorian workmen mysteriously downed their tools and abandoned it mid-construction in 1873.     

Untouched by time and the modern world, and hidden in a secluded valley, its incomplete state offers a unique sight of traditional building techniques, including stone carvings that are among the finest of their kind in the world.

Woodchester Mansion has been saved from dereliction by the trust, but will never be finished.

On his visit, made last week (May 9), Stroud MP Neil Carmichael found the mansion “absolutely fabulous”.

“It is very impressive,” Mr Carmichael said.   “It is steeped in interest, architecturally, culturally, historically and politically.  I would urge people to come and experience it,” he said.

Woodchester Mansion began opening six days a week, 11am-5pm, Tuesday to Sunday inclusive, from April.  Last admissions are at 4pm.

To find out more: 01453 861541/ www.woodchestermansion.org.uk

May 2014

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