Sculpture park in the Surrey Hills, England
Responsible travel: Sculpture park in the Surrey Hills, England
As a garden, we naturally have a very low impact on the environment, with the only real use of electricity being the small reception and office. We minimize energy usage from this as much as possible and have no plumbing on site, sharing bathroom facilities with the hotel next door. Our ten acres of land contains a number of different habitats, all of which require management. We have tried to encourage biodiversity through this management, and as a result have a wide range of wildlife on site. We have two large ponds on site, as well as a number of smaller ponds, and these are full of frogs and newts, and fringed with water lilies and reeds. Any fallen trees onsite are left as natural insect friendly habitats, as well as log piles which we create ourselves. These insects in turn attract a very healthy bird population, as do the areas of nettles and brambles on site. We encourage the bird life further with feeders and favourable berry trees. Dead leaves are gathered up and used to produce compost, which is used on our flower beds, and to help our trees and wild shrubs.
We have quite an interesting connection with the nearby village of Churt; Eddie Powell, the owner of our garden, sponsored a local sculptor to create the village sign. This was created of wrought iron, and can be seen on entering the village. Eddie is also keen supporter of the local Amateur Dramatic Society. We showcase and sell the work of a large number of sculptors from the immediate area and beyond. Often, we will help artists to transport their work to shows and exhibitions, such as those run by the Royal Horticultural Society or at National Trust sites nearby. We are just next door to the Pride of the Valley Hotel, and have a wonderful complimentary business relationship with them; guests at the hotel often come over to see the sculpture garden, whilst our visitors will often finish a day walking around the park with food and refreshments at the hotel. Incidentally, the hotel is a great place to stay and explore all that the area around us has to offer. We often receive school groups, especially from students of the arts seeking inspiration, and are also frequented by the Surrey Ramblers club and local photography clubs. We provide pieces for the Surrey Wood Fair, held in Berkeley, and also support an exchange program for victims of the Chernobyl disaster. Our staff come from the local area. We sometimes source from other businesses in the local area, lending a helping hand when they need it and receiving the same in return.
Our minimal landscape management allows visitors to experience the landscape in a more natural way. We donít believe in managed, trim lawns, preferring to leave nature to its own devices, but helping biodiversity in whatever ways we can and only adding species which we feel compliment the natural environment here. The path is kept clear, and the sculptures in view, but apart from that itís all fairly minimal. Visitors walk through mixed woodland featuring willows, yew, wild mountain ash and silver birch, as well as sturdy oaks and more unusual species like acers and fig trees, snake bark maple, and deciduous evergreen firs. Joining the wild bluebells are hyacinths and roses, as well as over 40,000 daffodils planted by ourselves. Around our ponds youíll see frogs and newts. In fact we have all seven reptilian species native to England, and have spotted adders and sand lizards during our time here (though sightings are rare). The areas of brambles and nettles attract abundant bird life, along with the feeders and water environments which we maintain, and the insect life propagated by our woodpile habitats. There are ducks, robin, heron and kingfishers, as well as white doves. Looking beyond the borders and trees of the park, you can see sweeping views of the surrounding Surrey Hills. The surrounding Devils Jumps are covered in heather, which turn a vibrant shade of purple in the autumn.
Just a short jump away is Devils Punchbowl, steeped in local myth, and we are also within easy walking distance of the stunning Frensham ponds Ė one of which features a rare example of an inland beach, perfect for a family picnic. Also nearby are Thursley Common and Hindhead.
The story of the provider of Sculpture park in the Surrey Hills, England
Local businessman Eddie Powell bought the land on which the sculpture park now sits back in 2003. Previously, the roughly ten acres of land had been owned by the Pride of the Valley Hotel next door, and for a while Eddie was unsure of what to do with the land. Having studied photography and sculpture in local Farnham, he realized that this was a perfect opportunity to showcase and sell the work of local sculptors. The park remains ever popular, and now features 2 miles of walkway through tastefully managed grounds, with over 600 sculptures to admire along the way.