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The Sculpture Park

A perfectly curated oasis that blends nature’s beauty with inspiring works of art. Take time, switch off and immerse yourself in the landscape.

Day Tickets – £7.50/pp during winter

The Sculpture Park

A perfectly curated oasis that blends nature’s beauty with inspiring works of art. Take time, switch off and immerse yourself in the landscape.

Day Tickets – £7.50/pp during winter

The Sculpture Park

Described as one of the most beautiful and unique settings in the UK. With over 120 pieces positioned across The Sculpture Park, it is a place where you can experience art and the landscape working seamlessly together. It’s somewhere you can leave your busy life behind and enjoy peace and tranquillity in a beautiful and serene environment.

Set in 26 acres alongside Dorset’s River Frome, with lakes, streams, meandering paths and plenty of places to sit, we encourage people to take their time, switch off, relax and fully absorb yourself in this unique sculpture park. Walking around can take anywhere between 45 minutes to a whole day but we recommend experiencing it at a slower pace to take in everything it has to offer.

A unique art venue

Showcasing the work of sculptor Simon Gudgeon and more than twenty other sculptors, Sculpture by the Lakes has been designed to inspire and excite true lovers of art and the collector by offering a unique outdoor art venue in which to view and select sculpture.

“Buying a piece of art should be a pure, emotional act – you buy it because you love it and you can’t live without it. Where and how you first see that sculpture is probably the most important part of buying the right piece for your home or garden.”

BGCI Botanic Gardens

We are one of eight botanic gardens in the UK which include The Eden Project, Edinburgh Botanic Garden, The Botanic Garden of Wales and Cambridge University Botanic Garden, and there are 83 accredited botanic gardens worldwide.

We are members of Botanic Garden Conservation International and hold a small but important collection of threatened conifers from around the world. We are also holders of the National Collection of Forsythia. 

When we moved to Pallington in 2007 we set about transforming these former fishing lakes into one of the UK’s most beautiful sculpture parks with an incredible collection of over 1,000 trees and shrubs, many of which are under threat in the wild. 

We collaborate with global leaders in plant conservation to develop our tree collection allowing specimens to grow in the safety of a botanical garden. Sculpture by the Lakes is a designated ‘safe site’ making us responsible for conserving rare species from around the globe with a specific focus on conifers. 

We have information boards positioned next to our key species which explain a little about each species, including the threats they face in the world. They are mostly all young trees which are special today but in many years we hope will develop into trees of great significance. 

Thank you for taking the time to learn about our trees and we look forward to welcoming you to the park. 

“The day I started our garden was a cold wintry January day, that sort of day when really you want to sit by a warm fire, but gardens wait for no one.
More than ten years have passed since then and each day my garden brings me more pleasure than I can say. I’m always expanding, improving, rearranging or replanting, so hopefully, there will always be new things to look at.”

Monique Gudgeon, Garden Director

The Kitchen Garden

Expanding on the existing family vegetable plot at Sculpture by the Lakes, the quarter-acre Kitchen Garden was created in the autumn of 2017 with the purpose of growing all-year-round seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs for The Makers Yard Kitchen. There are ten main vegetable beds, plus the three salad beds and the Keder Greenhouse where we grow salads throughout the winter and tomatoes, peppers and chillies through the summer months. There are also various beds around the side and back of the Keder and Potting Shed which are planted with a variety of fruit trees and shrubs, along with a herb garden, brassica cage, propagation greenhouse and several cold frames.

Looking after the land

The kitchen garden uses the No Dig approach to vegetable gardening, which means the beds are left un-dug allowing the beneficial micro-organisms to live in the soil undisturbed. Not only does the No Dig method save time, but it helps support the natural biodiversity of the soil allowing it to be conditioned without disturbing these all-important living organisms.

The Kitchen Garden supplies as much produce to The Makers Yard Kitchen as it can and very much determines what is on the menu. Working closely with the chef, the dishes are created using fresh ingredients inspired by the harvest and offer delicious food throughout the year.

Accreditations

Sculpture by the Lakes has been recognised and awarded a Level II Accreditation by The ArbNet Arboretum Programme and The Morton Arboretum of Illinois, USA.

This accreditation means that we have reached a standard of professional practice necessary for arboreta and botanic gardens around the world and places us alongside some of the globe’s best known botanic institutions.

We are one of only 13 gardens in the UK to be listed, these include Bedgebury National Pinetum https://www.forestryengland.uk/bedgebury, Westonbirt Arboretum https://www.forestryengland.uk/westonbirt-the-national-arboretum and Oxford University Botanic Garden https://www.botanic-garden.ox.ac.uk/visit-arboretum

The programme is sponsored and coordinated by the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois and recognises standards that include planning, governance, public access, tree science, planting and conservation. http://arbnet.org/

As well as a small but important collection of threatened conifers from around the globe, we also hold the National Collection of Forsythia. The conifer collection is part of the IUCN’s Global Tree Strategy which encourages the distribution and planting of threatened species in order to conserve biodiversity and genetic material. The trees we hold have been sourced from a variety of recognised sources including Royal Botanic Garden Kew, Edinburgh Botanic Garden and the International Conifer Conservation Programme (ICCP). https://threatenedconifers.rbge.org.uk/

Picnic in the Park

Make your day even more relaxing with a home-made picnic from our Kitchen – delicious food and there’s no washing up to do afterwards!

The Wildlife

The Sculpture Park provides a rich variety of fresh water habitats for wildlife; the lakes, ditches and ponds, the river Frome and water meadows beyond. This is enhanced by the emergent vegetation and surrounding trees. As a result, a substantial list of 12 dragonflies and 8 damselflies breed here, including Hairy Dragonfly, Downy Emerald, Scarce Chaser and Red-eyed Damselfly. The lakes with the adjacent water meadows, also offer a rare opportunity to support a breeding colony of Greylag geese. These geese were once widespread over Europe but are now infrequent breeding birds due to drainage. At quiet times, visitors may be rewarded with sightings of kingfishers that breed on the river. Grass snakes also favour habitats close to water and benefit from our large compost bins for the warmth they provide to hatch their eggs. 

Caring for our biodiversity

There are number of ways in which we encourage biodiversity, including log piles and dead hedging. These provide habitat for a huge array of insects as well as nesting sites for small birds and shelter for small mammals. We can also expect some interesting fungi as they slowly break down the wood. Our well established Butterfly Walk with herbs and buddleia provide nectar during the summer for exotic day-flying moths such as Scarlet Tigers and Hummingbird Hawkmoths as well as a variety of butterflies. The kitchen garden is also worth a visit for the flowers grown alongside the vegetables designed to attract pollinators throughout the summer season into autumn.

We contribute to UK recording schemes for birds, dragonflies and damselflies, butterflies and moths and the Dorset Wildlife Trust runs a regular audit of the wider insect life present in the park.  

Tranquil, relaxing and inspiring. A nice walk which can’t be taken at pace as there is so much to see. The kitchen garden area is also fantastic to walk round too. Delicious food and lovely people.”

Tripadvisor

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time. This is not to be rushed. The whole experience, from the welcome, to the kitchen, to the sculptures, to the lakes, to the garden, is worth every penny of the entrance fee. We will return.”

Tripadvisor

What a find! We spent several hours wondering around enjoying the sculptures but mostly enjoying the peace and tranquillity."

Tripadvisor

Amazing place, amazing art, amazing staff, great food, plants and gift. Amazing experience, will visit again and definitely recommend this gorgeous, tranquil paradise.”

Google Reviews

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