Dawn Robinson-Walsh explains why Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens in Penzance is a special place to visit
A major attraction near Penzance is Tremenheere Sculpture Gardens. The land here was originally owned by the monks of St Michael’s Mount until 1295, when it was bought by a tenant farmer, Michael De Tremenheere (the word means ‘place of the long stones’) from where it evolved to what you see today.
Sub-tropical plants and dramatic landscaping befitting the favourable micro-climate, forms the perfect backdrop to internationally renowned art stationed here. It is positioned in a lush, rather hidden, sheltered valley, where woods and a stream interweave with inspiring contemporary art. The sculptures make it a real art-landscape experience, overlooking the iconic, breathtaking St Michael’s Mount.
The gallery, which opened in 2017, is one of the largest purpose-built art galleries in Cornwall in beautiful light-filled, oak-framed buildings, providing a rare space for new individual and group exhibitions, alongside ongoing mixed works by local artists, including submissions from the Newlyn Society of Artists. It is not especially commercialised, while exhibiting some rather intriguing items. Seek out Ian Penna’s Skip of Light in the car park, or the Restless Temple, perhaps a story of our times. The sculptures are thought provoking.
In a space designed to harmonise with the landscape, Royal Academy artists such as James Turrell, David Nash and Richard Long have created works which fit in perfectly. Due to the natural contours of the land, the ground is sadly not accessible for wheelchair users, mobility scooters, prams and pushchairs, but it will spark the imaginations of children who can use the adventure map to spot wildlife. Dogs on leads are also welcome visitors.