Solomon’s Temple stands 437-metres above sea-level, which makes it both the focal point of Buxton’s skyline and the perfect location from which to spectate some of the spa town’s other lofty jewels. The grade-II listed Victorian folly sits atop the summit of the grassland limestone Grin Low Hill, and is, because of this, sometimes referred to as Grinlow Tower. Boasting two stories, with a spiral staircase leading visitors to the upper floor, Solomon’s Temple provides a 360-view of the Peak District.
The original structure that occupied the top of Grin Low Hill is said to have been built in the early 19th century by local Buxton landowner, Solomon Mycock, who allegedly instigated the construction of the building with the intent of giving a job to the unemployed men of the town; hence the reason why it is labelled a ‘folly’, as the building, once built, served no practical purpose.
By the late 19th century Mycock’s structure lay in a state of disrepair, and it was decided by the Local Board vice chairman and the seventh Duke of Devonshire that the structure should be re-erected in 1894. The reconstruction became somewhat of a community interest project, as it was the townspeople of Buxton themselves that raised the money to fund the undertaking; £50 was raised by Buxton locals, and an additional £25 was donated by the Duke of Devonshire. Local architects, W. R. Bryden and G. E. Garlick, designed the new layout of the folly, and the first brick was laid by Peak District politician, William Sidebottom, on the 31st of May 1896, which was observed by a large crowd.
The reason the project inspired such a vast amount of interest is due to the historical significance of mound on which the tower lies; Grin Low is in fact a Bronze Age barrow – or burial chamber – and Solomon’s Temple acts as somewhat of a commemoration to this fact. The chamber was excavated in 1894, at the time of the reconstruction, and was found to hold several Roman artefacts, alongside ‘Beaker’ period skeletons.
Solomon’s Temple was again restored in 1988, with funds raised yet again by the people of Buxton.
How to Get There
Visitors can climb Grin Low and reach Solomon’s Tower from several starting points. It is most popularly visited as part of a trip to Poole’s Cavern, being a mere 13-minute walk away from the cavern’s carpark. There is also a carpark located at Temple Fields burial ground, from which point Solomon’s Tower is reachable with a 15-minute walk. The temple is also only 9 minutes walking distance away from the Buxton Caravan and Motorhome Club Site. The walk itself is short, from each of these starting points, and offer some nice woodland, and Peak District countryside, scenery. The ascendance up Grin Low hill is not too challenging and can be done by hill walkers of all abilities; however, some of the terrain is said to be uneven, and on some days muddy, so appropriate footwear is recommended.
Good to Know
-Solomon’s Tower is totally free of charge; however, Pooles Cavern car park charges £2 per four hours. Most of the other neighbouring carparks and streets are free of charge.
-Caution is advised when climbing the temple’s spiral staircase to the upper floor; not only are the steps small and narrow, they are also very old and need restoration. For those who do not want to enter the tower itself, the views commanded from the top of Grin Low is worth the climb alone.
-Given its height, Grin Low can be very windy on certain days, so warm clothes are recommended.
-You may encounter a cow or two as you make the climb towards the tower; cattle from the nearby farm have been noted to explore the grounds, and some visitors have even found cows enjoying the warmth inside the tower.
-There is a map near the Poole’s Cavern carpark displaying the recommended routes towards the tower, however, they are not clearly signposted throughout, so it would be a good idea to memorise, or at least have a good idea of, the direction you are going in before setting out.
Things to See & Do While at Solomon’s Temple
The main attraction of Solomon’s Tower is its breath-taking 360-degree views of the Buxton and the greater Peak District, which, on a clear day, can give visitors vantage points of the likes of Mam Tor, Kinder Scout, Combs Moss, and Chelmorton Low.
Solomon’s Tower is often visited as part of a day out to Poole’s Cavern. Poole’s Cavern is a limestone cave which boasts a rich history dating back to the Roman period. Visitors can partake in a 45-minute tour which goes through the Caverns vast chambers which showcase alluring LED-lit rock formations.
The 100-acre woodland area that populates the lower regions of Grin Low are worth exploring and was originally planted in 1820 by the 6th Duke of Devonshire – in order to mask the limestone quarrying that was occurring in the area. The woodland area boasts a fantastic range of wildlife and plants, so much so that the woods were recently recognised as a site of special scientific interest.