GREATLY expanded opening hours have signalled the start of Woodchester Mansion’s step up to the big league of visitor attractions in Gloucestershire.
The magnificent but unfinished Victorian Gothic building between Dursley and Stroud is now open to the public almost every day until the end of October.
With a regular mini bus service to shuttle people down the hidden, National Trust-owned valley, and guided tours of the unique house itself, trustees are determined Woodchester Mansion should be a best kept secret no longer.
“Awareness of this magnificent mansion has to be hugely boosted," said Terry Robinson, chairman of the charitable Woodchester Mansion Trust.
"A whizz around this house and you come out really dazzled. It is a nationally important treasure.
“It should be visited by many more people. I am looking to draw 50,000 visitors rather than 6,000 a year,” he added.
Grade I listed Woodchester Mansion dates from the mid-1850s. It was commissioned by William Leigh but then the Victorian workmen mysteriously downed their tools and abandoned it mid-construction in 1873.
Untouched by time and the modern world, and hidden in a secluded valley, its incomplete state offers a unique sight of traditional building techniques, including stone carvings that are among the finest of their kind in the world.
Woodchester Mansion has been saved from dereliction by the trust, but will never be finished.
Woodchester Mansion is now open six days a week, 11am-5pm, Tuesday to Sunday inclusive. Last admissions are at 4pm.
Go to www.woodchestermansion.org.uk for more details.