Exploring the lovely Kinver Edge today we headed off to something we have wanted to see for quite a while. Tucked away in the wilds, these unusual abodes were inhabited until as recently as the 1960’s and are carved into the rock face that surrounds them.
As the whitewashed doorway and gaping rock face emerges from beyond the trees, there is a sense of something otherworldly about the place. The dirt path leading up gives you a sense of just how far out these would have been in their time with a lovely gate giving a sense of cosiness. Step into the entrance itself and what greets you is entirely mind-boggling. A spacious cavern filled with a surprising warmth leads to a neat little tunnel and the first living-place. The next place you find yourself (be careful if you are on the tall side) is someone’s bedroom. Complete with windows looking out onto the view of surrounding hillside and complete with everything someone could need to make themselves comfortable, you can really see why someone would make this their home.
Step through a further doorway and you will find yourself in a cosy living room, complete with full cooking range, fired up to fill the room with warmth, with a bread oven to the side. Picture-frame windows line up against the doorway to the outside world, framed in wood. A matching mantlepiece completes the recreation of a couple’s home-sweet-home with hand-tied rugs to finish.
Head back out through the tunnel and through the cavern to a further door to discover the next rock house, complete with a lovely porch and a sitting room I wouldn’t mind having myself. It even has a pantry and roaring fire. Whilst in the home, despite the doors and windows all being open, it wasn’t even slightly cold, despite being December! A sneaky hole in the wall is the perfect spot to chat through whilst the rooms themselves really give you a feel of what it would be like to live somewhere like that. Imagine heading off the hills for your own spot tucked overlooking nature. Perfect for curling up with a good book next to the fire!
Head back out the way you came and head up along the slope, the top of the stairs sees a perfect tea room, opening up to a beautiful outdoor seating area with fantastic views around. All surrounded by the scattered rock faces, with rooms rebuilt inside of the rock, if you fancy having your tea within the rock houses. There is even an additional cave up here, repurposed as Santa’s Grotto when we visited.
Visitors to the rock houses often overlook the walks that surround the property but these have features you definitely definitely should not miss! Beautiful rambling walks across the hillside offer views for miles and pass through atmospheric woodland but this is not all. Head on up the hill for the Toposcope showing you where you stand in the world and pass on along the trail. Part way along the route, Nanny’s Rock looms across your path. Named after a recluse inhabitant from time gone by who used it as a base to create herbal potions, the cave walls are lined with ghoulish faces carved into the rock and some perfect hidey-holes jutting out of the five-room cavern. If you catch the sun just right it hits the rock up in fiery fashion with fantastic golden tones dancing across the rock.
Further along lives another rock house, inhabited until the 1960’s, called Vales Rock. Sadly no longer accessible due to the danger of collapse, you can nethertheless still take in a good look of the home from the path and skirt around it on the trail. Carry on along the purple route for the full walk or make your way back to the Holy Austin Rock Houses. via the shortcut up the hill. Just don’t wear any delicate shoes, it gets pretty muddy here!
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