Little Sparta

South Lanarkshire | Dunsyre | Garden | ★★★

[Little Sparta]

"The only really original garden made in this country since 1945", claims Sir Roy Strong on the front of the visitor leaflet. An ambitious assertion, yet Little Sparta is undoubtedly like no other garden we've seen. The 7-acre site at Stonypath, clinging to the exposed southwestern slopes of the Pentland Hills, is the brainchild of Ian Hamilton Finlay - Scottish artist, poet, gardener - who lived here for the last 50 years of his life before passing away in 2006 (the garden is now run by a trust). Among other topics, Finlay's works focused heavily on the sea, ancient Greece and Rome, the French Revolution, World War II and Nazism; this is reflected in the landscape of Little Sparta, which appears almost as an outdoor art gallery. Sculptures bearing poetry and wordplay are everywhere, trees and water also have an important role to play, but colourful flowerbeds do not. The offical (and expensive) guidebook runs to hundreds of pages, which might give you a hint about how much thought and time the creator put into designing his surroundings - Finlay was agoraphobic for much of his life, leading to long periods where he didn't leave Stonypath, despite his often controversial work receiving increasing international acclaim from art critics. For uneducated mortals such as ourselves, the exact meaning of some of the 200+ pieces of artwork was lost on us, but we certainly found our visit to be an intriguing one.

[Little Sparta]

Location & info

📌 Little Sparta ★★★
Off minor road 1 mi west of Dunsyre, G.R.: NT 053488 ///obtain.undertook.overgrown
Open Thursday to Sunday afternoons, June to September | Free in 2020, booking essential

💬 From the car park at G.R.: NT 057482 ///bulbs.display.hunk it's a 15-min walk to the garden, gently uphill on a stony track. Some paths inside the garden are narrow and muddy.



[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Little Sparta]

[Gate to Little Sparta]

[Access track]

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Walk: Livingston's jaw-dropping waterfall

Walk: Towpath, tunnel & Colinton Dell

Myreton Motor Museum