The original Narnia
Once upon a time, long, long ago in 1988, a magical adaptation of CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia were filmed at Hawkstone Park in Shropshire.
The new movie Prince Caspian, directed by Andrew Adamson, is celebrating
Peter Jackson's film trilogy is generally credited with reinvigorating New Zealand's tourism industry. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is likely to have a similar effect, taking full advantage of New Zealand's varied landscapes.
However, in 1988 another landscape was inspiring film-makers shooting a TV adaptation of CS Lewis's classic story. The tale of good versus evil, rooted in a heady blend of the scriptures and classical mythology found its perfect backdrop at Hawkstone Park in Weston-under-Redcastle, Shropshire.
Hawkstone is firmly associated with the Arthurian legends. Author Graham Phillips, in his books King Arthur - The True Story and In Search of the Grail, identified it as being possibly the last resting place of King Arthur. However, it's the stunning setting and the park's historic and quirky follies which must have really excited the BBC's producers.
Featuring a series of tunnels, grottos and arches, amid a beautiful Shropshire landscape, it's easy to imagine Narnia's fauns wandering around. The gothic arch on Grotto Hill, one of the park's most distinctive features, provided Aslan with a visually-dramatic route into Narnia.
Narnia recreated at Hawkstone Park
Even in the 18th Century tourists were flooding to Hawkstone, making it one of Britain's most popular tourist destinations. The 1988 TV version of CS Lewis's tale raised Hawkstone's profile once again. Today the Grade I listed park attracts around 60,000 visitors a year and boasts a truly timeless appeal.
With 2005's film version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe attracting both popular and critical acclaim, the team behind it are already considering the sequel, Prince Caspian. Perhaps Andrew Adamson and his team should follow the BBC's example and come to Hawkstone.
last updated: 10/07/2008 at 14:50