Last Friday it was a traumatic evening for the owners of Sculpture by the Lakes, as strong winds from Storm Arwen knocked down a very large willow tree.
However, the owners have repaired the damage and the 26-acre park in Dorchester is now back to “business as usual”.
The tree fell on a bridge connecting the main path to one of the private sites in the middle of one of the lakes. The island, one of the three spaces that can be rented, accommodates up to 10 people.
The tree has landed on the bridge, the only route on and off the island, but it is once again open for rental after quick action from owners Simon and Monique Gudgeon.
A chainsaw was used to cut the trunk and main branches, which were then all moved from the bridge with vegetable machines usually reserved for the general maintenance of the park’s gardens. The damage to the bridge itself was minimal.
No other trees fell in the high winds, but a major cleanup was undertaken on November 28-29. Particular attention to cleaning and clearing has been given to the Artisans’ Bazaar, the on-site boutique selling handcrafted gifts, and the Lakeside Gallery, one of the main art galleries.
Simon Gudgeon exhibits more than 30 of his own sculptures in the park, some worth up to Â£ 300,000, but none of the sculptures have been damaged.
Simon Gudgeon said: âThe trees are a very important part of Sculpture by the Lakes, so it’s always a sinking feeling to see them go. But we’re doing pretty lightly compared to some and luckily we don’t have a lot of damage.
Sculpture by the Lakes is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., as is the cafÃ©, boutique, and art gallery. On Thursday, December 9, an evening shopping event is held starting at 5.30 p.m., where visitors can purchase Christmas gifts with mulled wine and street food over an open fire.
Gallery by the Lakes is organizing a new exhibition, Small Works: A Changing Exhibition, of contemporary sculptures, paintings and prints created on an intimate and focused scale.
Entrance to the sculpture park is Â£ 12.50 per person, but entry to the shop, gallery and cafe is free.