Urban Explorer gets surprise in woods with Harden Grange Folly

AN 18th century ruin hidden in the woods in the Bradford district has become the latest stop for an urban photographer.

The explorer, who runs the Facebook page ‘Lost Places & Forgotten Faces, visited Harden Grange Folly, also known as St David’s Ruin, in Harden.

The Ruin, as it is called on the earliest Ordnance Survey maps, was built by Benjamin Ferrand, of St Ives Estate, and is inscribed with his initials and the year 1796.

It is also known as Ferrand’s Folly, or Harden Grange Folly, but there is no explanation for why it later became known as St David’s Ruin. It was built as an eye-catcher on an outcrop of rock high up above the valley of the Harden Beck.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The Ferrand family had two properties: St Ives, a house below Harden, and Harden Grange, an estate higher up across the valley, they exchanged names in the middle of the 19th century. Benjamin Ferrand died in 1803, and the folly was rarely used or maintained thereafter.

The folly is now covered in woodland; but while it has lost its role as a distant object it is now very romantically situated in a small glade among pines.

He says the folly was like something out of a fantasy movie and is in a ‘truly magical’ setting. He says he was disappointed to get closer to see the folly had graffiti on it.

The explorer added he would like to see the site cleaned up.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

The explorer, who is from Leeds, said: “I enjoy exploring a variety of different abandoned or forgotten locations, but I have a particular fascination with old, mysterious ruins that are hidden in the woods.

“After learning about Harden Grange Folly, I knew that I had to go into the woods and try to find it.

“Spotting the Folly through the dense pine trees was like something out of a fantasy movie. The setting is truly magical, quiet and peaceful.

“From a distance, the ruin is a thing of beauty in perfectly tranquil surroundings.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

However, as I got closer I was saddened to see that the Folly had been vandalised with graffiti

“This made me so angry as seeing this change my mood and the ambiance of the location.

“I would love to see this historic ruin cleaned up and maintaining to preserve its magical aesthetic.”

The urban photographer has a strong presence on social media. His Facebook page has more than 15,000 likes and his Instagram page has almost 6,000 followers.

He said: “I am an urban photographer and adventure seeker who spends most of his free time documenting derelict, decaying and abandoned locations throughout Yorkshire.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

“Since starting this journey in November 2019, I have visited and documented 125 Yorkshire-based locations.

“Many of those have taken place in Bradford, a city oozing in history from its industrial past.

“I have explored Bradford-based sites including Midland Mills, Lister Mills, Barkerend Mills, Wapping Road School, Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic College, Odsal Stadium, Mode Nightclub and others.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

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