Garden writer Liz Ware has set up a wonderful not-for-profit project called Silent Space and the Shuttleworth Swiss Garden is delighted to take part. Our designated silent space is the peaceful Woodland Walk, which is adjacent to the Swiss Garden and skirting the Serpentine Lake.
The Woodland Walk is a tranquil space that offers a more natural setting to that of the garden’s historic landscape and provides welcome shade on warmer days. A Sculpture Trail was added in 2014, containing seven pieces carved from Swiss Garden cedarwood, which interprets the story of the estate and the two families who created it, the Ongleys and the Shuttleworths. A number of these also serve as seats and offer views out over the lake or into the woodland space itself. The treescape predominantly includes Oak, Sweet Chestnut and Yew, with the occasional Elm, Holly and Scots Pine and more rarely, Silver Birch and Lime, with an understorey of rhododendron, ferns and seasonal plants such as snowdrops, daffodils and foxgloves.
The walk follows a historic path used by the families to circumnavigate the lake, which in the past hosted ice-skating and boating parties. The Shuttleworth’s Boat House is still situated on the bank of the lake, and beyond this, views of the main house and its clocktower can be glimpsed between the trees. The Woodland Walk, which is also registered as a County Wildlife Site, is rarely busy, and offers the visitor an opportunity to engage more quietly with the landscape at Shuttleworth, taking time to enjoy the natural feel of this space while also being not too far away from the garden and visitor facilities.
For more information on the project, please visit silentspace.org.uk