Last Friday evening was traumatic for the owners of Sculpture by the Lakes as high winds from Storm Arwen brought down a very large willow tree.
However, the owners have cleared the damage and the 26-acre park in Dorchester is now back to ‘business as usual’.
The tree fell onto a bridge linking the main path with one of the private venues in the middle of one of the lakes. The Island, one of three spaces that can be hired, plays host for up to 10 guests.
The tree landed on the bridge, the only route on and off The Island, but it is now open for hire again after quick action from owners Simon and Monique Gudgeon.
A chainsaw was used to cut the trunk and main branches, all of which was then moved off the bridge with plant machinery usually reserved for general maintenance of the park’s gardens. Damage to the bridge itself was minimal.
No other tree fell in the high winds, but a large cleaning effort was undertaken on 28 and 29 November. Particular cleaning and clearing attention was given to the Artisans’ Bazaar, the on-site shop selling hand-crafted gifts, and Gallery by the Lakes, one of the main art galleries.
Simon Gudgeon exhibits over 30 of his own sculptures in the grounds, some worth as much as £300,000, but no sculpture was damaged.
Simon Gudgeon said: “Trees are a very important part of Sculpture by the Lakes, so it’s always a sinking feeling seeing one go. But we’ve got off quite lightly compared to some and thankfully we have no major damage.”
Sculpture by the Lakes is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, as is the cafe, shop, and art gallery. On Thursday December 9, a late-night shopping event is being held from 5:30PM onwards where visitors can shop for Christmas gifts with mulled wine and open fire street food.
Gallery by the Lakes is running a new exhibition, Small Works: A Changing Exhibition, of contemporary sculpture, painting and prints created in an intimate and focused scale.
Entry to the sculpture park is £12.50 per person, but the shop, gallery and café are free to enter.
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