Outdoor art gallery at the Mill at Gordleton in Lymington

Visitors can stroll the relaxed grounds

Visitors can stroll the relaxed grounds - Credit: Archant

Leigh Clapp wanders through the grounds of the Mill at Gordleton and discovers an outdoor art gallery with an eclectic display of sculptures by local and national artists

The Virginia-clad entrance of the Mill at Gordleton

The Virginia-clad entrance of the Mill at Gordleton - Credit: Archant

The Mill at Gordleton near Lymington, is a small privately owned country hotel set on a river, with restaurant serving lunch, afternoon teas and dinner and eight guestrooms. Owner Liz Cottingham likes to create an atmosphere of friendliness and a relaxed vibe along with attention to quality and service. The setting is lovely with a stream and rambling gardens for guests to explore. “We have a family of ducks and salmon, trout and perch are abundant in the river. We have a visiting heron most mornings and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a kingfisher. The river and caring for the environment is at the heart of my business and I love seeing the seasons change,” comments Liz.

Each Monday the three-acre riverside grounds are also open to the public through the National Gardens Scheme. Recently, two new areas have been unveiled, a traditional knot garden and a ‘secret garden’ with a newly renovated Victorian swimming pool turned into a pond, complete with striking tree fountain. Rather unexpectedly the gardens are also an exhibition space for an eclectic collection of rather weird and wonderful sculptural pieces. The art works have grown to such an extent that an Art Walk has been created this year. “I am passionate about art and the walk is a mini tour around our grounds which details and numbers the pieces we are exhibiting, and the artists that have kindly contributed them,” Liz adds.

Some pieces to look out for include illuminated ‘Enchanted Trees’ incorporating LED technology, organic metal sculptures by local blacksmith Colin Phillips, galvanised wire animals by Gemma Wootten and the giant cobweb gate by family friend Julian Bailey. Materials range from recycled salvage to timber carvings and glazed ceramics showcasing a broad range of figurative and abstract designs. The backdrop planting in the garden is a mix of evergreens with deciduous trees, such as acers, donning their golden and crimson cloaks. Virginia creeper smothers the entrance of the building and golden wisteria foliage adorns the terrace. Autumnal highlights are also provided by the ruby red fruits of crabapples and translucent cyclamen blooms in containers.

Feeling Inspired?

If you’d like to see some more garden sculpture, then there’s still time to visit ‘Art in the Garden’ at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens. In its 15th year, the exhibition is the largest in the country with 100 sculptures displayed in the lovely gardens that, in autumn, are a blaze of colours. The wonderful variety showcases 47 artists, some are new graduates, others established sculptors, with pieces in a range of materials such as metal, marble, stone and ceramics. There are many local pieces, including Paul Harvey’s owls set on plinths and Juliet Scott’s elegant bronze figure.

For a further source of outstanding contemporary pieces take a look at The Garden Gallery’s website, www.gardengallery.uk.com. Based in Broughton, garden designer Rachel Bebb promotes some exciting artists, holds regular exhibitions and opens the gallery by arrangement through the year.

Art in the Garden is open until 19th October at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, SO51 0QA from 10am to 5pm. Admission is £9.30 and children go free. Visit www3.hants.gov.uk/hilliergardens to find out more.

Most Read


Pay A Visit

• The Mill at Gordleton, Sway, Lymington, SO41 6DJ

• Every Monday 6 Jan to 1 Decemeber (11am-4pm), Admission £3


Read on

Upper Swanmore man David Green on his passion for gardeningGet planting this Centenary