The Hepworth Wakefield Garden
The first phase of The Hepworth Wakefield Garden is now open to the public.
We’ve been working with internationally renowned garden designer Tom Stuart-Smith to transform our outdoor site from unused land into a beautiful free public garden. The garden features outdoor sculptures and will host a programme of special events for all to enjoy.
ABOUT THE GARDEN
Tom Stuart-Smith’s design draws inspiration from its unusual setting between 19th-century red-brick mills and a 21st-century art gallery, edged by the River Calder. It echos the striking, angular shapes of the David Chipperfield-designed gallery while harnessing a naturalism that reflects Barbara Hepworth’s deep connection to the landscape.
Seating, open spaces and step-free paths within the garden reflect how we anticipate the widest possible audience will use and move through the space.
‘I prefer my work to be shown outside. I think sculpture grows in the open light and with the movement of the sun its aspect is always changing.’
– Barbara Hepworth
We have raised £1.6million from a variety of public funding bodies, trusts and foundations and individuals to achieve this ambitious project. You can still support the ongoing care and maintenance of The Hepworth Wakefield Garden with a donation.
Click here to donate.
Thank you to all those who have already helped us transform our site.
Construction of the garden commenced in January 2019. The first phase – the large central area of the garden – opened in summer 2019.
Work on phase two of the garden started in early February 2020. This phase comprises the construction of a wall with new planting on both sides to create the ‘woodland edge’ section of the design. This will shield the garden from the multiple lanes of traffic on Doncaster Rd. helping the garden become a tranquil space.
Work on restoring the gatehouse will start at the end of February. The gatehouse will be brought back into use as a small catering facility serving drinks, ice cream and snacks. The Hepworth Garden Café will open towards the end of May.
What's in the garden
Over 14,000 herbaceous plants and shrubs, 120 meters of beech hedging and 52 trees have been introduced to the site. Carefully chosen for their colour and architectural form, the plants change through the seasons creating evolving vistas and year-round interest.
This is vastly improving the biodiversity of the site, offering rich pollen and nectar food sources for a variety of insects and much needed places for birds and insects to shelter, feed and reproduce, creating an oasis in the heart of the city. We are already seeing an increase in the amount of wildlife onsite.
Tom said “I am delighted to be selected for this ambitious new project for The Hepworth Wakefield. Public commissions like these are scarce in the UK. I truly believe in the community and health benefits that gardens can bring and I am particularly excited by the socially transformative opportunities of this project. I am looking forward to working with the gallery to create a beautiful public space in this riverside setting that will be treasured by local residents and visitors alike.”
Our Cultural Gardener
We’re delighted to have appointed Katy Merrington as our Cultural Gardener. Alongside Tom Stuart-Smith, Katy has been working on the planting of the garden and will have responsibility for maintaining it, as well as working with our learning team to devise an exciting outdoor programme.
Katy has worked in some of the best gardens in the UK and USA including Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh at Logan, Dumfries & Galloway and Longwood Gardens: Pennsylvania, USA. Katy studied Fine Art at Newcastle University and has conducted freelance projects for galleries across Newcastle as well as leading a programme of family and engagement events in a wide range of gardens and art spaces.
Cultural Gardener Diary
Katy is also documenting her work in a monthly diary. This will offer a little glimpse into life in The Hepworth Wakefield.