The car park overflows; the tea garden booms. One of the county’s quietest spots has had a wake-up call and it’s come from the world of art.
Who would have thought that a collection of artistic sculptures would have been just the job to revive the popularity of Upton Castle Gardens near Cosheston, one of South Pembrokeshire’s most peaceful attractions?
It has come at a time when owners Pru and Steve have welcomed their daughter Imogen to the team, enabling the ticket hut to re-open and the long-planned-for refreshments area to take shape. But it really seems to be the Sculpture Trail that has provided that missing ingredient: a varied and high quality collection of art works provoking interest and admiration from visitors of all ages.
The exhibition, scattered over the grounds, consists of contemporary works from four internationally acclaimed artists, all with strong connections to Pembrokeshire. It consists of sculptures by driftwood animal artist James Doran-Webb, kinetic artist Ivan Black and Pembrokeshire glassblower Neil Wilkin. There is also a gallery of abstract paintings on local themes by Pembrokeshire abstract painter and photographer Caspar Beck.
One of the marvels of the exhibition is how well-placed the pieces are, so that they complement and resonate with their natural environment.
Even the long-established driftwood horses, Neaira and Aristotle, have had a change of view. Sadly, this was to accommodate an artwork that had to be removed after it was vandalised, but the horses look very happy with their new quarters.
As August isn’t over yet, there is still time to appreciate the exhibition while enjoying the other pleasures the RHS partner garden has to offer: the arboretum, rose garden, woodland walks, walled garden and chapel.
Upton Castle Gardens are open every day from 10am to 4.30pm. The Sculpture Trail is on view until August 31, 2023.