EAGLE-eyed visitors to Beeston Castle could win a season ticket to the historic attraction if they spot any new historic carvings.
The offer follows the recent location of a carving dating back to the Victorian times by English Heritage staff who were already aware of a couple of carvings on the site located in the Robin Hood Cave.
The carving may have gone unnoticed, but is directly opposite the end of the new woodland trail pathway, so visitors see the sandstone bank as they emerge from the path to head either left towards the Robin Hood Cave, or down to the right towards the sand caves.
Visitor operations manager Mark Hodgson said: “With so much undergrowth covering the exposed sandstone, it is not surprising that this face was ‘lost’ over the years, but it did make us wonder how many other faces might be hidden elsewhere on the site.
“We suspect they are most likely left over from Victorian times – this would coincide with the excavations of the sand caves, which provided sand for blasting boats on the nearby canal.
“This is also when Peckforton Castle was built on the adjacent cliff, when Beeston Castle became the romantic ruin view for the Tollemache family.”
The sandstone upon which Beeston Castle is built is especially soft, which makes it fairly easy to sculpt. A spectacular carving of an elephant stands proud in the garden of a house in Stone House Lane in neighbouring Peckforton, carved by stonemason John Watson, around 1859, when Beeston Castle was enjoying its renaissance as a Victorian visitor attraction.
English Heritage is encouraging visitors to identify new faces by offering free tickets.
Mark Hodgson added: “To encourage eagle-eyed visitors to keep an eye out for these historic sandstone carvings, the first person to spot a new, previously unspotted historic carving of a face will receive a season ticket for unlimited visits to the castle!”