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Woodchester Mansion – An Unfinished Masterpiece.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.
The kids and I recently had a day out at the stunning Woodchester Mansion. The Grade I listed house was built in a Victorian Gothic style, and is situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed. The Mansion was abandoned by its builders in the middle of construction. Tools were left on the floor, ladders are still propped up against the walls where they were last used, leaving behind a building that appears complete from the outside, but that is missing floors and even whole rooms on the inside; leaving doorways and firplaces suspended in mid air. It has remained in this state since the mid-1870s.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is situated near Nympsfield, Gloucestershire in the UK. The Park is under the management of the National Trust, and the Mansion itself has been owned by Stroud District Council since 1988, who set up the Woodchester Mansion Trust to protect this unique building - there are no plans to further complete the building, but rather preserve it as it is, through an on-site masonry and traditional building skills training programme. It seems likely that building work stopped due to lack of funds, but as there is no documented evidence for this, mystery and stories surround this beautiful house. It is reputed to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain, and has featured on numerous ghost hunting television programmes, consequently the mansion is regularly booked for paranormal investigator events, which I imagine is a useful revenue stream.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

The Mansion is situated about a mile from the car-park, down a track, and you do really feel the sense of isolation by the time you reach the house. I have visited the park a few times before, but this is the first time I have bought the kids to look around the house; the first thing my daughter said to me when she saw it was 'you didn't tell us it was a haunted house!', so it clearly does have that look about it!

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

There is no doubt that true craftsmen worked at Woodchester Mansion. Wherever you look, the stonework is exquisite, and it is fascinating to see aspects such as the top of the vaulted ceilings exposed, where normally they'd be hidden. We loved the vaulted cellar (it didn't feel creepy to us), and the beautiful staircases. For those of you who like ghost stories, the 3 photos above are all areas where ghosts are reported to have been sighted.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

The Bathroom is particularly impressive. The bath is carved out of a single block of Cotswold stone, which would have been filled by the two stone gargoyle heads, and the room also contains what has been suggested to be one of the earliest examples of a shower cubicle in British architecture. Apparently cold water would have flowed through the larger gargoyle's mouth shown in the photo while a chain would have come out of the other, allowing you to control it.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is home to colonies of both Greater and Lesser Horseshoe Bats, both listed as endangered species, as well as to others. The Mansion website suggests that the bats have been in residence since at least the 1950s, in fact, it may be far longer. A few years ago I nursed an old couple from the area, who used to tell me stories about the house. The gentleman told me that as a lad he and his friends used to walk from Minchinhampton to the Mansion, climb up to the roof, collect bats, pop them into their pockets, and then walk back home. Once home they would mark the bats and release them. The following day they would go back and see if their bats had returned - the gentleman who told me this said that they always had! This would have been in about 1910-15. Nowadays, of course, we understand how fragile bat populations can be, and the established colonies of Woodchester bats play an important part in global bat research. Visitors to the house are able to visit the bat exhibition room, where as well as viewing the bat colones via CCTV, there is a wealth of other resources about these rare and beautiful mammals.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

I think that the most interesting part of the house for me, are the areas which show signs of use. There are rooms where the stonemason's stored their tools, looking like nothing has been moved since the day they left. And the range in the kitchen looks as though it has had plenty of use. It is testiment to the local community that things have been left in situ, rather than being looted away over the years.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

The parkland surrounding the house was originally laid out to include a chain of 5 lakes, running down through the valley, and hidden away there is a beautiful boathouse, dog kennels and ice house as well as the quarry from which the stone for the mansion was taken. From the car-park there are 3 trails you can follow to help you explore the valley; a 1.7 mile woodland trail, which includes a play trail, a 3.5 mile boathouse walk, and a 7 mile valley walk which takes in the majority of the park. I have walked all 3 trails, the valley is wonderful for foraging; I've seen wild strawberries, wood sorrel and wild garlic there among other things. On this occasion we opted for the shortest walk as we wanted to check out the children’s trail. This trail is steep in places, so I'd advise anyone thinking of walking here to wear appropriate footwear.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion and Park is a truly magical place to visit. It is a hidden gem of the Cotswolds. We had a wonderful day out, and would recommend it to anyone visiting the area. As far as I am aware you can visit the Woodland at any time of the year, but the house is staffed by volunteers and is only open at certain times, so I would suggest you check before visiting, if you are hoping to go inside the house.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

Woodchester Mansion is a Grade I listed house built in a Victorian Gothic style, and  situated in a secluded, wooded valley, known as Woodchester Park. This fascinating house was never finished, so offers visitors the opportunity to see how a house of this period was constructed.

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20 Comments

  • Reply Lauren (The Helpful Hiker)

    What an intriguing place- I do love a quirky building! I love the way it’s been left, frozen in time. The outdoor spaces look fab too, definitely one for us to visit when we’re next out that way.

    November 1, 2016 at 4:32 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It is an amazing place Lauren, and the park itself is beautiful too. If you do visit there’s a couple of burial mounds close by including Hetty Peglers Tump which you can go into and which is well worth a look (and is free!)

      November 3, 2016 at 10:32 am
  • Reply Nige Higgins

    This looks a wonderful place to visit fab post #busydoingthings

    October 18, 2015 at 8:36 am
    • Reply Sarah

      It is a fascinating house to visit, thanks for popping by :)

      October 18, 2015 at 10:31 pm
  • Reply Claire

    A fascinating place to visit, your photos are great. I agree the bathroom is particularly impressive :)

    October 17, 2015 at 8:10 pm
    • Reply Sarah

      It is such a hidden treasure. My daughter announced the other day that we should move in once they finish it – she is definitely developing a taste for fine houses! Thanks for popping by :)

      October 18, 2015 at 7:34 am
  • Reply Chloe

    This place looks fascinating! It’s so sad that it wasn’t finished and ever lived in properly, there must be an amazing story behind it. I find it incredible how they made such stunning places without the tools we have today. I am in awe of stonemason. It’s incredible that you can see the tools they would have used left where they left them. The outdoors trail looks like so much fun too. I love places like this where you can come back time and time again and it really is a testament to the local community that it’s been preserved so well and not looted. Thank you so much for linking this to #whatevertheweather. x

    September 13, 2015 at 7:35 pm
    • Reply Sarah

      It is unbelievable that it was never lived in when so much work went into it. I used to nurse in the local community, and my older patients used to tell me (with a wink) that its where they would go to get ‘engaged’, so when we visit I try and imagine those romantic couples there 80 odd years a go which adds a lovely dimension :) Thanks for having us on #WhatevertheWeather

      September 13, 2015 at 8:18 pm
  • Reply Alison

    This place looks absolutely fascinating, and I would love to visit. Makes me laugh though: how can a building that was never even completed be one of the most haunted places in Britain? Was it built on an ancient Druid burial ground? Perhaps that’s why it was never finished. It looks like the National Trust are doing a brilliant job. #brilliantblogposts

    September 13, 2015 at 9:26 am
    • Reply Sarah

      Must admit you echo my thoughts on the haunting, although I believe the site did have another house on it previously :) Thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment x

      September 13, 2015 at 10:30 am
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