P R O F I L E
The beehive shaped Grotto or Shell House at Acton Burnell dates from around 1750. It lies about 550 meters to the south of Acton Burnell Hall on Acton Burnell Hill.
It is constructed from local sand stone and has a domed roof. Inside much of the decoration survives including the shell panels in the roof and Chinese style tiles on the walls. There was once a central table and wall bench. There are two windows looking north towards the Hall either side of the doorway. To find it is difficult as it is now enveloped in woodland trees. Follow the track that zigzags up the hill and eventually you will come to it.
The Burnell family were the owners of the estate in the 13th century. By the 1750s it had passed to the Smythe family. Sir Edward in the last years of his life carried out major improvements to the landscaped park. He died in 1784. The Hall is built near the Church and dates from 1814. It was sold by the Smythes in 1939 and became a school. It is now known as Concorde College. The castle nearby is a gothic style folly and there are also other follies and two lakes that formed part of the landscaping of the original estate.
The grotto, high on the hillside is a Grade II listed structure. It is located on private land and not generally accessible.
GREAT BRITISH GROTTO GRADING
Not open to the public, On private property, Physical access difficult
Access on Foot, Grotto - just one
Woodlands or Forest
England - Central
THE FEATURES PRESENT
+Dark and mysterious chambers and cave like spaces, +External rock structures, either real or simulated, +Fossils and/or shells incorporated into the decor, +Stunning setting and location, +Viewing points from within to an intriguing landscape outside, GRADED FIVE