Wood, metal, concrete, grass and water… it’s all a piece of art.
I’ve not been here since last summer and thought I’d take a walk this weekend after we’d been put into our second lockdown. So a nice place to meander around Peterborough Sculpture Park did the trick of clearing my mind in the sunshine.
Located at Thorpe Meadows the Sculpture Park sits behind the Dragonfly Hotel and The Boat House – two places for a nice cup of coffee (when they are open). The starting point is over on the left hand side of the Rowing Lake, before which you are normally greeted by a host of ducks and swan families. There are no toilets here and no barriers, so please keep an eye on smaller children.
Not all the sculptures are marked, so you might find it useful to take a quick shot of the map highlighting them which is located in the car park (£2.50 per hour – first hour free). Now that’s a little bit of a dilemma – because on how fast you walk depends on if you can get round – it takes approximately one hour to walk all the way round.
I’ll not tell you about them all, I’ll leave some surprises for you. However, one of the most recognisable ones is Elizabeth Cooke’s ‘Cormorant’ (4). That huge, black bird that you see sometimes sitting along the waterside – it’s long bodied, broad winged and long necked. If you see one, you won’t miss it as they normally stand with their wings half open – no idea why. This one stands bold on a high pillar with its catch in its mouth – she’s cleverly managed to capture movement in all this metal.
A very unusual looking sculpture that you’ll spot straight away from the path is Sokari Douglas Camp’s ‘Festival Boat’ (6), from a distance you can clearly see the shape of a fish but as you get closer it becomes the bottom of a concrete lopsided boat. It’s one of those that you just can’t resist going to look at for a closer look and it’s in white so really does stand out – it’s source is from a festival boat used ceremoniously in the artist’s native Nigeria.
The trail of sculptures continues near to the end of the lake, you have to choose to walk back or continue. Hopefully you’ve seen a little prince, a wolf or maybe you found some Pokemon instead! (Lots of them hatch here if you’re still playing) Meander down the pathway which is shared with cyclists and joggers alike for your return walk on the other side and you’ll spy two other large sculptures which are situated in clearings near Longthorpe Parkway. The first is ‘Peterborough Arch’ by Lee Grandjean – a very imposingly tall character, made from Oroko wood, who aligns with the front of Peterborough Cathedral (never knew that!) When you get closer you can see this figure is walking through a gateway (maybe to the city). The last one definitely calls to you – a set of four interchanging doorways is ‘Untitled’ by Miles Davies which is cut from plate steel using lasers in a water tank.
You’re nearly back to your beginning point now, so if you’ve ventured over to this statue, stay on the gravel pathway and walk through the lovely autumn lit trees before you return.
Next time you’re here, why not park up and get some exercise for your body and mind.
This is the Spark Magazine article for December 2020