This weekend, I spent my saturday afternoon creeping through the undergrowth of the derelict stately pile pictured above. Called Tottenham House, it was built by the Marquess of Ailesbury in the 1820's, before becoming a prep school, Hawtreys, after the war. The school abandoned the vast and crumbling building in the 1990's and it has stood empty ever since, save for a caretaker couple who live in a handful of the more than one hundred rooms.
It was certainly a very spooky place to be walking around as the evening sun dimmed over Savernake Forest. The only sound as we crept through the dark tangles of Rhododendrons came from the occasional thunder of herds of deer as they bolted through the branches before us, the stags barking their warnings in great booms.
It's amazing and melancholy to see a huge place lying in such gothic disarray, especially when you see the traces of the prep school everywhere, and imagine the thousands of children that used to play there on the overgrown sports fields. A magical place indeed.