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Heaven's Gate

Location

Wiltshire Map

OS Ref: ST 822 424

Last Visited: 2014

Longleat House from Heaven's Gate

Longleat House from Heaven's Gate

Heavenʼs Gate on the Longleat Estate is not well signposted, in fact it does not appear to be signposted at all. If you take the Horningsham road off the A362, after about 2.25 km (1.4 mls), just past the entrance to the Aqua Sana Spa, there is a car park on the left-hand side of the road.

Park there, cross over the road, and head up the ornamental drive.

After about 700 m you go through a gate, past the sculptures, and are rewarded with the most glorious view over Longleat House and Grounds.

Stone Sculptures by Paul Norris

Stone Sculptures
by Paul Norris

The sculptures by Paul Norris were carved over a two year period as a Millennium Project for Lord Bath.

As quoted on the nearby notice, Paulʼs idea was for the work to "... lend into the atmosphere of Longleat and to be part of its future. The sculptures are figurative in an animal way but are as much to do with the landscape as with the animals." The stone, however, came from Mabe in Cornwall and is not local to the area.

The Stone Ring by Paul Norris

The Stone Ring
by Paul Norris

Whilst the sculptures themselves are rather splendid in my opinion, Iʼm not so sure about the setting. I find them distracting. Standing on the edge of the ridge, Iʼm not sure if I should be looking out at the view or back at the sculptures.

If, as Paul hopes, "... the sculptures will act as a greeting place rather than an attraction as they are set back from the viewpoint", why do they turn their backs on the arriving visitor? It is not until you have walked past them that you can see the carved faces.

There is a 3 km (1.75 mls) walk signposted from here to Shear Water which might be worth investigating.