THE hidden secrets of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park are secret no more.
A major restoration project of the 500-acre historic landscape has been completed.
And new “treasures” will be seen by visitors from the end of this week following a major restoration project at the park near West Bretton, supported by Natural England, Wakefield Council and English Heritage.
Some 150 acres – including two 65 acre designed lakes and 85 acres of historic woodland – will be opened to the public for the very first time from July 23.
Some of the Park’s sculptures have also been moved to take advantage of the new landscapes, including Antony Gormley’s iconic One & Other.
Visitors will be able to walk through the historic woodland and past the lakes from the Cascade Bridge entrance.
The restoration project was launched in 2009, when Park officials commissioned The Landscape Agency to produce a Historic Landscape Management Plan.
It looked at the land surrounding the Grade II registered 18th century-designed landscape of Bretton Hall, which forms the core of the estate.
Work began in September 2010 to restore and enhance the woodland around the two historic lakes and to restore water management infrastructure, historic footpaths, bridges, views, follies and historical features. They include a Greek-style summer house, a now land-locked boathouse, an obelisk, stepping stones and a magical shell grotto.
In all, a further 4km (almost 2.5 miles) of footpath have been opened up.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park director Peter Murray said “The timing of this project has been absolutely crucial.
“The support of Wakefield Council and funding from Natural England has allowed the transformation of this incredible area.
“In many ways it is the final piece of the jigsaw in terms of reuniting the 500 acres of the historic Bretton estate.
“It is a significant moment and provides new areas that have never been open to the general public before”.