A wealthy landowner has just completed the largest folly to be built in Britain for at least a century. The 65ft-tall structure on the 7,500-acre Rushmore Estate, Dorset, has been built in the style of an Indian mogul gateway, topped by five large copper domes.
It was originally designed to conceal five mobile telephone masts. When the phone company, O2, pulled out of the project, the estate’s owner, William Gronow-Davis, decided to go ahead and build it at his own expense. By definition a folly is a structure with no practical purpose usually built to enhance a view or create a feature in the landscape.
In the case of Mr Gronow-Davis’s folly it is a focal point at the end of a mile long avenue of trees. The vista can be seen from window of his drawing room.
Mr Gronow-Davis says it finishes off his garden and adds to the spectacular vista from his mansion. Mr Gronow-Davis chose an Indian theme for the folly because he was born on the sub-continent. He is a descendent of General Augustus Pitt Rivers who inherited the estate in the 19th century, He said: “It is unusual and looks so beautiful from my house.
“From my drawing room you look out onto the gardens along an avenue of trees and fountains and about a mile away is the folly. It is wonderful and just finishes the garden off.
The folly is made of concrete that has been rendered in lime and sections of the four pillars have been washed in red ochre lime. The base is made out of Turkish limestone and has the family’s crest coated on it along with the four points of the compass.