What is Ina's Rock?

One of the more mysterious places of interest around the grounds of Alton Towers is Ina's Rock, seen here:

 

This photo was taken by us in 2007 (amongst others below):

 

Part of a 1970s park map featuring King "Ina's Rock" placed at number 32 towards the end of the Rock Walk:

 

Legend has it that "Bunbury Hill", on which Alton Towers was built, was the scene of the "Battle of Slain Hollow" in 716AD, between King Ina of Wessex and King Ceolred of Mercia. An ancient monkish chronicler stated that upon Ina invading Mercia, Ceolred prepared to meet his assailant at Bunbury by constructing a fortress, which in some places had a double or single ditch, with accompanying embankments, some of which were still evident around the Gothic Prospect Towers (aka Gothic Temple) in the grounds in the 1870s. Ina withdrew and supposedly ate, sheltered and held council at a rock in the valley which now bears his name to this day. A battle ensued and some people say that the valley where the fighting occurred has been known since as the "Valley of the Slain" due to the number of dead buried in the area. This area has also been known as "Slain Hollow","Slain Valley" and "Slade Valley". 

 

Ina's Rock featured in an 1870s guidebook:

 

Ina's rock featured on an Ordnance Survey map.

 

In the early 1800s, two plaques were inset into the rock, one on either side, of which one survives to this day and records the distance from the rock to Alton Abbey (Towers). These plaques were carved with the directions "ALTON ABBEY, BY THE ROCK DRIVE, ONE MILE 1/4 & 342 YARDS. BY THE ROCK WALK, ONE MILE & 146 YARDS". Seen here is the remaining one plaque.

 

This is the second plaque that has unfortunately been lost over the years.

 

 For over a century, Ina's rock was advertised in various park literature as an attraction, up until the late 1980s, along with other rock formations along the "Rock Walk" and "Nature Trails".

 

Around the mid to late 1980s a new security fence was installed by Alton Towers towards the far end of the Rock Walk which cut off access to paying visitors and Ina's Rock no longer featured in park literature as an attraction.

 

Going back many years, Ina's Rock could be reached from 4 different directions. Firstly, from the area of the Towers estate along the rock walk. Secondly, down from the Deer Park, thirdly, from the Quixhill Lodge entrance to the estate and finally after an ascent from the train line in Alton. Someone savvy in the modern day landscape of Alton could possibly make their way to the site of the rock today.......

Below we see the Quixhill Lodge entrance (in Denstone) to the Earl of Shrewsbury's Alton Towers estate. Centuries ago, after a carriage ride through here and via the Quixhill Drive, a visitor would find themselves on the edge of the Alton Towers gardens. This is not possible today due to JCB owning parts of what was the Shrewsbury family's estate.

 

From the direction of the Quixhill Lodge entrance a visitor would have seen rock formations on paths/drives such as this when closer to the edge of the modern day Alton Towers grounds.

 

 If attempting to visit Ina's Rock nowadays, this is something you may see on the way "Down".

 

....and this is something that you may see on the way "UP"

 

Ina's Rock also features a stream that runs down through the vicinity, seen here:


Due to its size, in more modern times, the rock has even been used by rock climbers.

 

 Ina's rock seems unlikely to be opened up to park guests again due to its location.....


 Watch our video footage of Ina's rock right here :