The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden



Ahead of winter, I wanted to take advantage of the mild autumn weather before the cold sets in. After an awe-inspiring trip to Dungeness, I was ready for another mini adventure, and I chose to visit The Hannah Peschar sculpture garden in Surrey before it closed for the winter season.

I have never heard of this garden until recently, and the images I saw online intrigued me immensely. I thought a few miles walk via the public footpath from Ockley station would be quite straight forward, but I was wrong – the first part through the woods was fine, then I got lost in the open field and somehow went off track.








I eventually ended up at The Cricketers Arms, a Grade II listed traditional pub circa 1450 in Ockley. I love the large inglenook fireplace and oak beams, and decided to have lunch here. The friendly staff gave me some directions towards the garden before I set off again.




By the time I reached the office of the sculpture garden, I was already feeling a bit tired. The friendly curator Vikki was surprised to learn that I walked all the way from the station (I guess not many visitors would do that) and offered to give me a lift back before my train’s departure time. Her warmth and kindness immediately made me feel that this garden is not an ordinary one.


 hannah Peschar sculpture park


hannah peschar


This special garden used to be part of a large estate, laid out between 1915 and 1920. Later it was split up and sold in several lots, and the garden fell into decline after the estate was sold. In 1983, art curator Hannah Peschar bought the ten-acre land, which included a grade II listed 15th Century cottage and a large water and rock garden. The garden was subsequently redesigned and replanted by her husband, the award-winning landscape designer Anthony Paul, who introduced many large-leaved plants in bold groups, tall grasses and created 3 new ponds. Over the past 30+ years, the garden has grown from a handful of sculptures to over 200 pieces exhibited every year, featuring artists from the U.K. and Europe.


hannah peschar

hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park



Later, I learnt from Vikki that her mentor Hannah Peschar decided to step back from her role two years ago, and now the garden is run and curated by her and Anthony Paul. Though Peschar still resides in the lovely ancient cottage, and her husband also has a landscape design office within the garden.




hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park


Unlike the Yorkshire sculpture park, most of the art works here are available for sale and all visitors are given a map with the list of work and prices upon arrival. The vast array of work varies from figurative to highly abstract, using both traditional and innovative materials. All the sculptures here are placed heedfully so that they would blend harmoniously with nature and other works within the garden.

The garden looked beautiful in spite of the drizzly and misty weather; I particularly love seeing the sculptures against the autumn colours. And I secretly congratulated myself for wearing the correct footwear for a change.




hannah Peschar sculpture park  autumn leaves



Since there were not many visitors during my weekday visit, I was able to enjoy the tranquility that the garden has to offer. The garden is enchanting because you never know what you would encounter as you walk along the trail. There are hidden surprises as the landscape changes; and during the few hours walking in the garden, I felt excited, inspired, intrigued, and contemplative.


hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park


hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park


hannah Peschar sculpture park  hannah Peschar sculpture park


Unlike the National trust or English Heritage properties, there is no cafe, picnic area nor souvenir shop here, so it feels somewhat less commercial. When almost every airport in the world has become more like a shopping mall nowadays, I found it a relief to not see a shop/cafe here (although I am sure some people would disagree with me).







When i finished the tour around the garden, Vikki said she would close the garden earlier as it was a quiet day, and we had an interesting chat about art and design as she drove me to the train station. Enviously, I told her that she is lucky to be working in such a wonderful and peaceful environment, and she agreed. She said that the garden looks different in every season and she recommends that I return again next spring/summer.

And yes, I definitely will return again – I can’t wait to see the garden in bloom!


Note: The garden will reopen on 1st April 2018.