The woodland at Bivouac is home to the Druid’s Temple which is steeped in history and intrigue. Not a great deal is known about the construction of the folly, but it is believed to have been built in the late 1700’s by William Danby (owner of Swinton Estate and nearby Swinton Park). It is rumoured that a hermit lived there for many years, but its mystical connections are probably fairly tenuous, as it was built at a time when there was a great deal of interest in Druidism as part of the emerging Romantic period. The site contains a main temple along with numerous stone formations dotted around the woodland for eager walkers to find as they explore.
The Danby family also built Swinton Park which is a short drive away and now a 31 bedroom luxury castle hotel. The earliest part dates from 1695, with significant subsequent Georgian and Victorian Gothic alterations, including a turret and castellations. Swinton Park is now owned by the Cunliffe-Lister family who came to Swinton in the late 1800’s and is the ancestral seat of the Earl of Swinton.
The Druid’s Temple is one of Yorkshire’s most interesting follies, in the woods, located near Leighton Reservoir with the surrounding moorland and Yorkshire Dales landscape. Within the woodland there are a number of other standing stones, and the site is of particular appeal to walkers, families and bird watchers. The temple is just a short walk from Bivouac’s reception, and easy to find with a public footpath that leads from the road to the main site of the folly. There are a number of walking trails within the woodland which Swinton Estate allows walkers to use on a permissive use basis, by kind permission of the Swinton Estate.