The landscape of the UK is dotted with numerous follies that still stand as a tribute to the eccentricity of wealthy and sometimes not so wealthy landowners. The tower known as Flounders Folly was constructed on the instructions of Mr. Benjamin Flounders. There are several stories as to why it was built but the most often quoted is that he wished to be able to see his ships when they sailed down the Bristol Channel. Another version is that he was fond of trains and from the top of the tower could see all the main lines of the time. Yet another explanation is that it was built at the place where his four estates joined together. The reality may never be known.
The plans for the original building were drawn up by an architect from Ludlow and are today in the safe keeping of the North Yorkshire Record Office. Work commenced in 1838 using local stone to build a tower that was 80ft high by 16ft Square. The walls were two ft thick for stability with narrow windows. It is said to have had a castellated top which enclosed a viewing platform and flagpole.
Over the years the tower fell into disrepair although various attempts were made to maintain and repair it. Experts believe that the folly was significantly restored at least once before 1938. During WWII the lead was removed from the roof – possibly for use in the manufacture of munitions.
The original platform collapsed in the mid 1980’s. By the early 1990’s the local authorities were forced to remove what remained of the castellated section and close off the tower as it was simply no longer safe. Various attempts to renovate and rebuild the structure were started but were delayed or even stopped by the issues surrounding who actually owned the building. in 2001 the Flounders Folly Trust purchased the building and land as a freehold and the way forward could be planned with more certainty particularly as the endeavour was granted Heritage Lottery Funding.
Over the following years substantial restoration work has been carried out on the tower which was officially declared complete in 2005. It was declared reopened by HRH Princess Anne who arrived by helicopter.
The tower is now regularly opened to the public but it is best to check in advance just before visiting. It is still worth a visit even just to see the building up close and the views along the upper pathway are spectacular. They include the Shropshire Hills, the Long Mynd, both of the Clee Hills as well as the Welsh hills and black mountains.
There is some special advice for those people planning to visit the folly. It is only possible to access the site by walking and during the frozen winter months the pathway can be slippery with ice. The distance from the car parking area at the bottom of the ridge to the folly is nearly a mile – most of which is uphill.
Flounders Folly is located at the top of Callow Hill at the far South West of Wenlock Edge. It requires a walk of nearly a mile to reach it – most of which is uphill.
Camping and Caravanning Club Site
Ring Bank, Haughton, Shrewsbury
Shropshire, England, SY4 4GB
+44 (0)1743 709 334
- Address: Callow Hill (Lane) Lower Dinchope Craven Arms Shropshire England SY7 9JJ
- GPS: 52.46051389,-2.795344444
- Phone: 0044 (0) 1743 236914
- Part of UK: England
- Sat Nav Postcode: SY7 9JJ
- Entrance Fees: No
- Disabled Access: None
- Visibility from Road: Excellent
- Image Credits: Header Image: Paul Vincent