The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies. Gertrude Jekyll

Annie's Little Plot

Annie's Little Plot

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Before the snow arrived Martin and I spent an brisk and breezy afternoon at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in West Bretton in Wakefield. Its a fabulous open air gallery with over 60 sculptures outdoors and an ever-changing exhibitions in the galleries. At the moment there is a display of Miro sculptures and drawings. But if you want to blow the cobwebs away get over there and get walking round the park, walking boots or wellies are recommended, there are a couple of circuits that you can do which take you past some of the main pieces of art, including pieces by Antony Gormley, David Nash, Andy Goldsworthy, but probably the most well-known sculptures there are by Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth.
As you walk down from the visitors centre the first sculpture that you are drawn to is perhaps the most famous here, Draped seated woman (affectionately named Old Flo) by Henry Moore. It has been in the news recently as it is 'owned' by Tower Hamlets council who want to sell it. If you want to know more about the background to this sculpture read here. Anyway I love where it is at the moment, she looks like she is enjoying the amazing view.
This is her view.
There are a number of other Henry Moore sculptures close by.

What I love about the sculptures here is that you can admire them from afar, close up and you feel free to touch them and I think they need to be touched and stroked but maybe thats just me, part of the appeal to me is the different textures of the pieces. You don't feel you can do that when they are tucked in a museum.
From here you can walk round the lake, or do a longer walk up towards Longside gallery. We didn't do the long walk this time but it is to be recommended.

 The Seventy One Steps is a recently commisioned piece by David Nash. Last time we came there was a big exhibition of his work.
Bretton Hall, lies in the centre of the estate.
Walking this way we came across some beautiful shaggy beasts.
Then your eyes are drawn upwards. Clearly Antony Gormly's work.
This is Invasion by Michael Zwingmann
There are a few bizarre ones. Sitting by Sophie Rider.

Ten seated figures by Magdalena Abakanowicz, impressive under a gorgeous Cedar tree.

I'm a big fan of Barbara Hepworth sculptures after visiting her Trewyn studio, which is now a museum, and scuplture garden in St Ives many years ago. She was born in Wakefield and so its only right that she has a collection here. She felt strongly that her work should be "allowed to breathe" outdoors and so I think the setting of her Family of Man sculptures here in YSP is most appropriate.

 In the stark winter landscape sometimes the trees were competing as pieces of art!

Just one word of warning, its free to get in to the park, but the car parking charges have recently gone up and the system has changed so that though you can pay any time there are different rates for how long you stay (up to £7.50 for all day) but you must remember to pay for the correct amount as there is vehicle recognition on the gate as you come in, so you will be charged much more if you get it wrong. When you put in your car registration it doesn't tell you how long you have been and we couldn't remember exactly what time we got in and paid for 2 hours and then were worried that we had gone over that time. Its a charity so its vital that people pay but it all seemed a little bit confusing. That said that was the only slightly negative thing and its definitely worth a visit.


  1. I've been saying that we must go to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the last few years, perhaps this will be the year that we go. There's many places we're denied access to now, having a dog with us, but YSP will permit them on a lead, so it's ideal for any families looking for a day out with a dog.

    1. Its not too far away for u so would definitely recommend a visit and dog friendly too.

  2. What an interesting, and informative, post. I think that's the way to really appreciate such art, and you're lucky to have such a place on your doorstep.
    This all looked rather familiar, and I was right as fellow blogger Uphilldowndale, on my lawn loungers list, has posted about here. Have a look at her posts under the category 'Art'.
    Flighty xx

    1. Yes v lucky to have some where like that so close. Will look at uphilldowndales blog post too

  3. A lovely place to have near to where you live - I agree about wanting to touch and stroke them and it is good for the sculptures as it adds to their patina.

  4. Sorry Wellywoman just got a new phone and accidentally deleted your commeny!