GUIDED tours of a landmark tower are being offered as part of celebrations to mark a milestone in its history.

The visits can be arranged as part of the 125th anniversary of the opening of the Abberley Clock Tower at Great Witley.

Standing at 161ft high, it is a distinctive feature in the grounds of Abberley Hall School and can be seen from six counties.

“I researched the story of the clock tower and Abberley Hall and wrote a book about their fascinating history,” said Jo Roche, of Bayton.

"As I unearthed more interesting stories I felt that people would appreciate the opportunity to discover more about the delights of this splendid Victorian country house and its surroundings.”

She explained that in 1880, the wealthy John Joseph Jones inherited the Abberley Hall estate and two years later commissioned the clock tower, to be built on Merritt's Hill north of Abberley Hall, with it being officially opened in 1885.

The tower has three lower rooms, a sewing room and a clock room, with the clock still being serviced by original manufacturer, JB Joyce of Whitchurch.

The only time the clock tower was continuously inhabited was during the Second World War when it became a Home Guard observation post, reporting enemy aircraft making for Birmingham Jo added that the ground floor interior of Abberley Hall was well preserved and contained a complete scheme of Victorian decoration, similar to Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.

A former Abberley Hall School parent, she is now a trustee member of the charitable Abberley Hall Foundation, which aims to preserve the school buildings and grounds.

Jo has visited the school to give an illustrated talk to the pupils and parents and is available to give tours and presentations to the general public.

Call her on 01299 832666 or email