Sometimes destruction yields delight. Emma Pritchard is inspired by a new book exploring Britain’s numerous historic ruins
Dave Hamilton is wild about ruins. So much so that he has committed his passion to paper with a new book about these evocative buildings, which constitute some of the most magical properties on British soil.
“The stark beauty of a ruin can be intriguing in a way that no renovated building ever could,” he writes. “Ruins have a haunting presence, always begging one overriding question: ‘Why?’
“Britain has had a rich and varied history over the last 1,000 years, and many of her oldest buildings still stand complete as tourist attractions or in working use.
“However, hidden away in the wilds, often just out of sight, is an alternative history: the story of the buildings that have fallen into disrepair. These properties link us with vanished generations, in whose steps a visit enables us to walk. In exploring ruins, we act as archaeologists uncovering the buried past.
“Ruined forts, mills, mines, quarries, castles, monasteries, grand houses and village churches are amongst the incredible wild play grounds awaiting you. The only question is which to visit first.”
Try the following Surrey gems...
- Waverley Abbey, near Farnham (above): England’s first Cistercian abbey, where the remains of the vaulted cellar hint powerfully at past grandeur.
- Newark Priory, near Ripley: set on an island, one of the most romantic and photogenic ruins in the county.
- Betchworth Castle, near Brockham: formerly a grand house, retaining much of its original landscaping, with a wild feel that belies its position on the edge of a golf course.
Wild Ruins is out now (Wild Things Publishing, £16.99). Quote 'Essential Surrey' for 30% off!