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An inspirational Sculpture Park in the Weald of Kent

The Gardens of Gaia is an imaginative Sculpture Park set in some 22 acres of woodland just outside Cranbrook, in Kent.

It is a place of tranquillity and inspiration where artists have been invited to live and work in the forest and create sculptures specific to the setting. Typical of the exhibits are pine trees sculpted by Giles Kent, the Ring of Hope by Rick Kirby, also by Rick Kirby is a magical figure emerging from the still waters of the Lake Chad (a small-scale replica of Lake Chad in Africa). All these and other works are on permanent display, to be discovered more or less by accident as you wander through woodlands where nature has been left undisturbed.

“An extraordinary synthesis of art and nature”
Clive King, The Times


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Gardens of Gaia movie | 20mb | 6 minutes 30 seconds



Other artists exhibited are a selection of Britain’s most promising sculptors – Nick Joly, Alan Franklin, Wayne Markwort, Andrew Horsfall, Karl Vizi, Laura White, Andrew Cheese, Sarah Fiander, Ann Gillespie, Neil Buxton, Lee Mitchell and Sam Boffey.

The park is the inspiration of young artist and entrepreneur, Peter Bartlett. “The idea came to me when I was walking the dogs around the woods and lake on my family’s land. I had known the woods since childhood and everytime I went back as an adult they never failed to return me to a state of childhood wonderment. By inviting sculptors to interpret the spirit of the place I hope to be able to share some of it’s magic.”

“To wander around the Gardens of Gaia is to embark on an inspiring voyage. The visitor is taken unawares, almost every step of the way, glimpsing through uncanny, unheralded works of art – nature collaborating in the creation of an Arcadian idyll.”
Philip Vann, Contemporary Visual Arts Magazine

Over a year was spent preparing the setting for the works of art – with minimal change to the environment. Peter Bartlett chose artists whose work, though contemporary in spirit, has a timeless, ethereal quality.

“I asked them to spend a significant amount of time in the park to become attuned to the feeling of the place before formulating their ideas. Most spent about 2 months here in total. The inspiration for each piece stems directly from it’s site – they belong there and no where else. The park is not intended to be viewed like an art collection. I see the sculptures as enablers, helping the visitors to experience the spirit of the place. I hope they will leave with a feeling of peace and optimism.”

“Combining sculpture and landscape, materials and elements, Bartlett’s creation is an al fresco gallery worthy of the goddess Gaia.”
Liz Hoggard, The Independent on Sunday

The sculpture park is set in an area of Kent that is well worth several days’ exploration. Within a few miles are the famous gardens of Sinnghurst Castle and Great Dixter, Scotney Castle and Bodiam Castle. Not far away are the great houses of Knole, Penshurst, Hever and Chartwell. Few corners of England have such riches.


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