Part of a Victorian model estate
Leighton is a model estate on a stupendous scale, laid out in the 1850s by John Naylor, a wealthy Liverpool banker. Besides magnificent housing for all kinds of livestock, the estate had its own aqueduct and cable railway to take water, manure and feed to outlying farms.
The spectacular ornamental Fowl House next door to our cottage, and under our care, is just one of the fascinating features of the Leighton Estate, also renowned for its arboretum, which surrounds these two poultry-themed buildings.
Meticulously designed quarters
The Poultry Yard was added in 1861, complete with fowl house, storm shed, pond and scratching yard, and the poultry-keeper’s cottage in which you can stay, set in the large and secluded grounds from which the chickens have long gone. Each species, whether large or small, ornamental, water or humble hen, had its own meticulously designed quarters in the Fowl House: a thorough attention to detail, which is typical of the whole estate.
The everyday care of the birds was under the supervision of a Poultry-keeper, whose quarters were the cottage just beside the yard, today’s Landmark. It is in fact an earlier building, dating from about 1800, but was smartened up in 1861 to match its neighbours.
The surrounding woodland offers walks to suit all seasons. It is a peaceful setting (the chickens have long gone) with views across the Severn Valley to Montgomeryshire. In addition to Leighton, one can visit the gardens at Powis Castle, Glansevern Hall and Vaynor.
‘The grand Fowl House could almost make one envious of being a chicken.’
‘This was an ideal refuge from life. The silence is really startling for those of us used to cars, trains and planes.’
From the logbook