- Public Park
Radford Park , with its views over Hooe Lake, comes as a pleasant surprise along Radford Park Road. The Harris mansion (C 16, modernized in the C 18) was demolished in 1937, but a small, square early C 19 lodge remains, each side with a pediment over a segmental-arched recess. L-shaped addition behind of 1985. Octagonal gatepiers with large iron balls. Across the lake, there are eyecatchers- a bridge and a castle, a small embattled gatehouse with wooden Gothick casements. Further on there is a a more substantial sham ruin including a boathouse. In 1793 RevJohn Swete wrote dismissively of the house: ‘neither house or grounds answered my expectations. The former was, in what I look upon in the country the worst style of building, a front of but little extent with two deep projecting wings, towards the south however one of these wings extended itself and opened towards a steep aclivity—nor in the latter was there anything striking: it consisted of a fertile meadow, which was bounded on every quarter by high hills. The situation was a sheltered one and that, as I have already noticed, was a circumstance which in former times over-balanced the weaker pretensions of beauty of prospect.’ White (1850) noted that it was ‘a fine ancient seat’ and Stockdale described it as ‘an interesting spacious mansion’. The sale particulars of 1917 mention the parkland, terraced pleasure grounds, three ornamental ponds with water falls, ornamental lake, vegetable gardens and Radford Castle. Lake, gatehouse (the Castle) and boathouse ruin remain. The early nineteenth-century ‘Eyecatcher’ and lodge are listed.
Cherry & Pevsner: The Buildings of England – Devon, 1991: 681
T Gray: The Garden History of Devon, 1995: 188-9