#1 Discover Dorset – Sculpture by the Lakes

Welcome to the Discover Dorset mini blog series. Showcasing some of the amazing businesses across west Dorset from retailers, hospitality through to spaces that you might not know about & help you Discover Dorset.

Which leads me to introduce my first Discover Dorset business – Sculpture by the Lakes (SBTL) a sculpture park just 20 minutes outside of Dorchester. I contacted SBTL asking if they’d be interested in taking part in the new blog series & founders Simon & Monique Gudgeon were very welcoming in inviting me down to their magical sculpture park. It was also the first face to face interview I’ve conducted at a social distance – which was interesting!

Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset
First socially distant interview

In a nutshell, describe Sculpture by the Lakes.

It’s made up of several ideals. A merging of art and landscape where they enhance one & other in a beautiful setting. A place to experience peace and tranquillity & take time out from your busy lives. The installations are a blend of art & nature.

Simon is the sculptor behind the 40+ features and Monique or Mo is the force behind the beautiful garden and landscape. Simon will come up with a sculpture & Mo decides how to make it work in the park amongst the landscape.

How long has the park been open?

Nearly 10 years since first opening back in June 2011, before then it was a fishery and is the only sculpture park of its kind in Dorset & attracts international visitors every year.

During lockdown how have you kept yourselves occupied?

The office & gardeners were furloughed so Mo kept busy doing the gardeners work & keeping the gardens ticking over. Whilst Simon kept on top of the office admin & spent time in the studio.

Simon created 14 virtual tours which are hosted over on their YouTube channel for anyone who was missing SBTL or fancied a bit of escapism. A great way to find out the stories behind the sculptures. Simon was also very productive & produced several sculptures including Liberte, 3 swallows, the butterfly, hanging chair and the tree gods.

Must-see sculpture whilst visiting the park?

1. Search for Enlightenment – find out more about the story behind the sculptures on YouTube.

Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset
Search for Enlightenment

2. Serenity Isis – find out more about the sculpture on YouTube. There is also a Serenity sculpture on the south side of the Serpentine, near the Diana Memorial Fountain & in the National Museum of Wildlife Art in the USA.

Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset

3. Ballerina figure – Liberte – which was designed during lockdown.

Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset

Favourite spot at Sculpture by the Lakes?

Our favourite spot is the island – a beautiful spot to watch the sunset or the lookout on the edge of the water.

Sculpture by the Lakes in Dorset
Simon and Monique Gudgeon

What feeling do you want visitors to leave with after visiting SBTL?

A calmness & appreciation for nature, as well as leaving relaxed when they drive away. Visitors really can turn their visit into a day out, have lunch at our award-winning café & kitchen garden, coffee & cake & walk around the park both ways, taking things in from a different perspective.

What are the plans for the future at SBTL?

We’re continuously evolving. We’re working towards a national collection for forsythia – a botanical garden which we’re working closely with Dorset Wildlife Trust on. It’s a 3-year application plan.

And we look forward to welcoming back Wellbeing by the Lakes for autumn of 2021.

Thank you, Simon & Monique, for taking part in the Discover Dorset blog & we wish you all the best for the rest of 2020.

All the details (at time of publishing 12th July 2020):

My Favourite Sculptures from my visit…

Dancing Cranes - the bird of happiness
Dancing Cranes – the bird of happiness
Bathing Belle and the Kingfisher at The Retreat
Bathing Belle & the Kingfisher at The Retreat
Leaf Spirit
Leaf Spirit

Note: I was very kindly gifted the Sculpture by the Lakes experience as part of my Discover Dorset series in exchange for an interview.

If you like this interview on a Dorset business, have a look through my Dorset based blogs.


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