Exercise 7: Historic and contemporary follies

For this exercise I undertook some online background research to find examples of traditional and historic follies in my local area. I researched my local folly’s in the first part of my studies where I looked at the local vernacular and from this a drew inspiration for my pavilion. I have presented my research on A3 pages which gives you information and a better understanding of each one.

In my home village of Barwick & Stoford there sits 4 folly’s in the grounds of Barwick Park, that date back to 1775. Jack the Treacle Eater is one that was built in 1770, Jack is said to have been a runner who carried message to London from Barwick and trained on treacle. Another is The Fish Tower that is a north boundary marker of Barwick Park, Messiters Cone is a west boundary marker and lastly the Needle Obelisk is a south boundary marker. They all have no useful purpose and locals say that they were built to give the estate labourers work during a time of depression in the 1820’s. Folly’s were fashionable architectural embellishments to gardens and parks from the 16th century onwards, often reflecting the personality of the architect.

A3 poster of my research on traditional follies.

In my home county of Somerset lives a contemporary folly called the Wilderness Tower, it is a brutalist-inspired folly used to watch wildlife. Built on the flat landscape of the Somerset Levels, it is part sculpture, part bird hide, which was designed and built to sit in the land of Glastonbury heath marshes which is renowned for its peat production and amazing wildlife habitat. Close by is an RSPB reserve which is home to an abundance of rare and indigenous birds. The tower was built to provide a viewing platform to observe the local wildlife, made from a steel and timber frame, clad in reclaimed corrugated metal sheeting, local to the area it blends into the landscape. The designer, Marcus Jeffries, works with geometric designs and you can see there is a staggered and repeated shape that is similar to the natural forms such as flower petals and patterns found in the cracks of the earth.

A3 poster of my research on a contemporary folly.

Although the follies I have chosen to research are different in age, style and use, they all have some similarities. They are built from different materials and look very different but both are used temporarily, enjoyed by the public and looked after by the landowners and local charities for years to come. In both posters I have created a gallery of photographs and writing to inform the reader of their origin but I have intentionally added drawings and mixed media to complement their amazing, beautiful design.


  1. loved reading this 🙂


    1. Thank you so much! Your site looks amazing, looking forward to following your journey xx


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