Broadway Tower, a faux Saxon Castle, was perfectly positioned by Capability Brown to take advantage of the outstanding hilltop view from the Cotswold Way over several English counties. One a clear day, it’s possible to see the Welsh hills from the top of this folly.
I always enjoy follies, those eccentric ornamental buildings that provide focal points for gardens, hills and landscapes, lasting testimonies to the creativity and willpower of someone with spare resources. Perhaps they are in my blood: my home town, Darwen, is benevolently overlooked by a Jubilee Tower that accessorizes and tames the moorland.
We arrived at Broadway well after closing time. I hadn’t realized before our visit that it would have been possible to climb the tower or that there was a William Morris exhibition inside it.
But the gold-tinted light at that time of the day was a photographer’s blessing, bringing out the natural warmth of the stone.
Links for more information
William Morris’s Broadway Walk gives directions for a moderately challenging 5 mile walk around the area, passing by the tower. Reading the steps, seemingly written by a thoughtful, poetic mind, gives a good feel for what to expect. I loved the instruction: ‘Descend sweetly through pastures’ in the sixth step.
The Cotswold Way is a 102 mile footpath that runs along a natural escarpment.
Lovers of the quirky might like to browse through the Folly Fellowship website where you’ll also be able to brush up on a list of related architectural terms including Chinoiserie, Cottage Orne, Belvedere or Prospect Tower and Tortoiserie. I’d vote to rename their group the Folly Fanciers – I don’t know if I have a second?