Described by English Heritage to be of outstanding interest


Plumpton Rocks is a Grade 2* listed man-made lake and surrounding pleasure gardens against a backdrop of towering rocks eroded by the wind. It has been described by English Heritage to be of outstanding interest.

The large picturesque garden was formed in the 1760s by creating a lake at the foot of an extensive range of weathered and contorted gritstone outcrops.

The 30 acre park provides seemingly endless opportunities to explore, with tranquil lakeside walks, dramatic Millstone Grit rock formations with names including Lion's Den, Lover's Leap and Needle's Eye, romantic woodland walks winding through bluebells and rhododendrons.

Known as Plompton Rocks in Turner's time, an early guide mentioned that seats are placed in different parts from whence the spectator may have the most advantageous views of the different objects that compose this romantic scene.

The view from the south end of the lake looking north, which is situated on the dam at the outflow of the lake, is remarkably well preserved and Turner's view is almost unchanged.

The striking contrasts of the weather-beaten rock, with the blooming verdure that surrounds it, affords a pleasing instance of what nature, properly assisted by art, is capable of producing.


The artist J.M.W. Turner painted two oil paintings of Plumpton Rocks following his first visit to Yorkshire in 1797. Turner was commissioned by Edward Lascelles, 1st Earl of Harewood, who owned the estate of Plumpton Rocks at that time.

These were his first commissioned landscapes in oils and he charged the Earl a little more than £32 for the pair, within a few years Turner was so successful, he could charge twenty times that amount.

Both known as 'Plompton Rocks', one is of the lake head looking south, with fisherman at work on the lake (Plompton Rocks, Harewood House Trust), while the other is from the dam looking north, with fisherman packing up for the night (Plompton Rocks, Harewood House Trust). Both paintings now hang at Harewood House.