For years we’ve just blithely driven by the Sculpture Park in Churt. It’s on the corner where we drive back to Farnham after walking on Hankley Common. It’s directly opposite the Pride of the Valley Hotel and Restaurant. Today, being as it was gloriously blue and we could find no NGS gardens within even a very loud cooee, we decided we needed to tick it off our metaphoric list.
Described as ‘The most atmospheric Sculpture Park in Britain‘, it is a weird combination of art gallery, wildlife sanctuary, garden and open air shop. In fact, they have a website here, though it doesn’t really tell you much about the history of the place and, I note, that a few of the newspaper editorial links do not work! Still…
We entered through the gate and followed the little black signs pointing to reception, carefully reading the temporary sign that said we had to pay at reception before we ventured off the path! Unnaturally we did what we were told and approached, what appeared to be, a hillbilly shack on the side of a lake. Standing guard was this chap…
…though it wasn’t just his head! He was balancing on a whale bone, his arms outstretched. I really fancied him and said as much to Mirinda. I was pretty keen to get him in the garden and, of course, almost everything in the sculpture park is for sale. She looked him up on the price list. I’ll not be getting him. I think £18,000 is a tad too high. Well, for a whim anyway.
Having paid our money to the little old man in the shadows of the shack, we strolled around the park, such wonders to behold. It was quite amazing. Obviously there was a lot of rubbish but there was also quite a few beautiful pieces. Some of which, we WOULD have in our garden if the price was a LOT less. One we both liked very much was a woman with an umbrella, blown inside out by the wind.
As you can imagine, there were some wild and wacky things dotted around, in the undergrowth. A half submerged waxy baby creature emerging from the swamp – quite off-putting this one. Giant walnuts and acorns which Mirinda is rather keen on. And all of them in a lovely 10 acre arboretum, complete with water features aplenty. On such a day, it was a joyful excursion and worth the pittance they charged. Well, in comparison to the skeleton, anyway.
Having visited the giant bird and ascertained it appeared to be mostly cork, we made our way across the road to the hotel for a Sunday afternoon pint of local ale, before we headed off home for a dark walk to the castle for the poodles, lamb for dinner and Lark Rise for entertainment. What a lovely Sunday.