IT has been a record breaking year for Witley Court & Gardens which has seen the highest number of visitors flocking through its doors for 10 years.

The palatial remains of the 19th century mansion in Worcester Road, Great Witley, has long been considered a real gem in the county but the addition of the new Wilderness Play Area last May has helped to boost visitor numbers by 58 per cent in 2012/13.

Constructed from natural timber, the play area blends in with its woodland setting and encourages visitors to explore for themselves.

The centrepiece - a tree house - is accessed by a wobbly bridge and shaped like a large seed pod that has cracked open and the tree has grown out of it.

Mark Badger, English Heritage Area Manager , said: “From the first day it opened the Wilderness Play Area has been a hugely popular addition with our family visitors and it’s fantastic that it has helped thousands more people discover the wonders of Witley.

"A year on from opening, the Play Area blends seamlessly in to Witley’s Wilderness area, and is a great place to start an adventure around the grounds and gardens.”

The attraction is celebrating the play area's first anniversary with a three-day event over the Bank Holiday weekend, which will see Witley transported back to its Victorian heyday.

There will be traditional games and entertainments while young adventurers can try their hand at fencing, take part in children’s plays and recreate toys from a Victorian childhood and enjoy Punch and Judy.

Wild About Witley runs from Saturday to Monday from 11am to 5pm. Tickets are £8.10 for adults, £4.90 for children or £21.10 for a family.