For centuries people have been walking along Shute’s Lane and Hell Lane – Holloways hidden at the heart of Symondsbury Estate. However, when these ancient, sunken paths and their mysterious carvings are the focus of a cover story in the January issue of Country Life, you realise that the wider world has now woken up to their magic. Called ‘spectacular’ by Country Life, our Holloways are having a bit of a moment.
According to journalist, Ben Lerwill, Shute’s Lane is one of the UK’s most striking examples of a sunken path – and it seems that many people agree with him. Last year it was the focus of a ground-breaking mapping project undertaken by Natural England using drones and survey equipment to create a detailed 3D model that shows the make up of a Holloway. This brought film crews from BBC and ITV news to capture the Holloways’ ever-changing landscape and unique ecosystem.
Even actor and local resident, Martin Clunes, felt the need to stop off in Shute’s Lane to show the Holloways to his good friend, Mel Giedroyc, during a packed filming schedule for a travel programme last summer!
While the Holloways are stunning at any time of year, winter is a perfect time to come and see them for yourself. While they can get muddy underfoot, as the Country Life article says, walking along them is less like walking along a footpath and more like exploring a hidden canyon. This means that, even if it’s raining, you will be sheltered under the soaring trees above you, which in turn help to keep the temperature in the Holloways relatively stable.
So, if you feel like having a bit of an adventure, put on your wellies and pop into our Visitor Centre where you can pick up one of our 50p maps. Then head to our Holloways and you’ll see why they are creating such a stir.