Jan 142018
 
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The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

The Sculpture Park in Churt boasts the world’s largest all year sculpture exhibition. Visit Surrey describes it as the most atmospheric sculpture park in Britain. With descriptions like this, it naturally made it to my “must-see” list when I spent five weeks house-sitting in the area.

Churt is located on the western edges of Surrey between Farnham and Haslemere. The area is part of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty. The natural landscape makes a beautiful backdrop for the more than 800 pieces of 20th Century, Modern, and Contemporary Sculpture. A two-mile trail meanders through heathland, woodlands, and water gardens. Art surrounds you wherever you are on that trail.

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

Eddie Powell, owner and curator of The Sculpture Park, is a leading U.K. art expert. He is also a sculptor himself working under the pseudonym Wilfred Pritchard. He created the park as an opportunity for artists to show and sell their work in a unique setting while allowing the public to enjoy the art and the garden setting. The collection of sculptures is eclectic, ranging from beautiful to bizarre, comedic to thought-provoking.

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

Dragon sculpture made of horseshoes

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

Sculpture made of old shoes

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

As we set out to follow the path through the park, the woman in Reception told us to look up as well as around us. We didn’t have to look up far to notice the wind chimes on this path. They hummed a constant, soft, deep, soothing tone which reminded me of Tibetan singing bowls. They came from Texas.

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

Another reason to look up

All of the pieces are for sale, which means content changes on a regular basis. (Most were priced well beyond my means!) Small wooden blocks in the earth contain numbers identifying the sculptures. Booklets listing the pieces of art by number are handed out at reception. We occasionally came across a wooden numbered block with no associated piece of art. We guessed the piece had recently been sold. In a couple of other cases, the description of the piece didn’t match the artwork itself. Most likely, a new piece had been installed, but the booklet had not yet been updated.

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

These specific ruins may not have been for sale, but you could commission the building of a similar structure on your property

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

I visited the park in winter. There was not the lush foliage one might expect in the summer, but the setting was still beautiful and serene.

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

The Striking Serenity of the Sculpture Park in Churt: A woodland garden of eclectic sculptures in the rolling Surrey Hills

 small sculptures at Churt Sculpture Garden

Tips for Visiting

The Sculpture Park is open daily throughout the year (closed on Christmas Day). There is an entrance fee. Dogs on short leads are allowed. Parts of the path skirt the water’s edge and the water is deep. Parents are warned to ensure children take care. The path is uneven in places with stairs and inclines. A family visiting the same day as I did had one member in a wheelchair and a child in a pram (stroller). They were limited to seeing only portions of the park. There are toilet facilities at reception.

The park’s website recommended allowing two hours for your visit. We spent closer to three hours.

Nearby

The Bel and Dragon Inn next door makes a good stop for refreshment before or after your visit. It has a large restaurant and a welcoming family-friendly bar where dogs are allowed. The menu is extensive and excellent. (Everything my friends and I ate when we visited was delicious.)

The Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Beauty has some of the most stunning countryside in southeast England. Green belt areas and woods abound near the Sculpture Park with many places for country walks, including Frensham Great Pond and Common, Little Frensham Pond, and The Devil’s Punchbowl.

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  16 Responses to “The Striking Serenity of The Sculpture Park in Churt”

  1. Love this Donna. Must be a beautiful place to walk. Displaying within the context of natural surroundings always enhances sculpture. And they seem to have done a great job of that. Hope to get three someday.

  2. Really outstanding natural beauty complemented by 800 sculptures! What a find. I love the white sculpture of a couple lying down, relaxing!

  3. The Sculpture Park in Churt looks amazing. I had to read the part about there being over 800 pieces along the trail. And talk about a diverse collection! Great find!

  4. What fun! I love the whimsical pieces and the surprises you found by looking up. What a treasure,

    • RoseMary, it was certainly different than sculpture gardens where there is a lot of space between each sculpture. There was much to see everywhere around us and yet it was done in a way that worked with the landscape.

  5. All the sculptures are amazing. The pictures are nice, I was feeling if I was there watching all sculpture myself.
    Wow for the imagination too, to create such master pieces

    • Andleeb, I had to wonder if I’d had the means and had decided to buy one of the larger sculptures how it would actually get delivered. I suspect some may have had to be dismantled and re-assembled.

  6. I love sculpture parks but I’m embarrassed to say I’d never even heard of Churt! It looks lovely though – I’ll look out for it next time I’m in that part of the country.

    • Karen, Churt is a very small village so I’m not surprised you’ve not heard of it. It is near Farnham and in a beautiful part of the country.

  7. What an amazing sculpture garden, Donna! From the whimsical to the erotic, it seems to have everything in between. I love that head in the tree!

    • Doreen, I too like the head in the tree. It was such a surprise to come across it and it is so lifelike. People have had different reactions to it. Some think it is creepy, although I didn’t feel that at the time.

  8. I love sculpture gardens and this one is especially beautiful with its wooded setting!! The artwork is exceptional as well!

    • Marilyn, I too love sculpture gardens. This one with so much art placed in such a beautiful setting was a particular treat.

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