Set against a stunning backdrop of the River Thames in Berkshire, Beale Park is not only home to an exciting mix of animals and attractions, but it also offers visitors the chance to relax and enjoy nature at its best with a variety of gardens, sculptures, trails and lakes to enhance your visit.
Beale Park celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006 with the creation of the Jubliee Water Gardens.
Designed and landscaped by Pantiles Nurseries, Surrey’s award-winning nursery, the area surrounding the Pavilion was brought to life with an exotic array of plants such as Phormium (New Zealand flax), Dicksonia (tree ferns) and Phyllostachys (bamboo), creating an unusual walk with a hint of the Orient for all to enjoy.
The “Dry Garden” which runs alongside the Park’s inner lake, was created in the summer of 2009 and features more than 80 varieties of plants including: agapanthus, red hot pokers and grasses, shrubs, bulbs and perennials.
The garden was designed to enhance the lake landscape and to demonstrate the type of planting that can be successful in dry conditions at times of water shortages.
It was constructed by importing a good top soil which was then covered with a horticultural membrane and layers of pea shingle. The plants were then planted through the layers into the new topsoil. Over time, the area will develop into a beautiful display for our visitors.
Beale Park has an interesting collection of sculptures featured in the grounds.
Gilbert Beale, the Park’s founder, loved all things that were different, and brought many unusual and curious pieces together. The most notable of these is a charging horse called The Valkyrie, which dominates the pathway leading to the Pavilion. Another outstanding exhibit is the Italian Fountain: commissioned by Whitaker Wright in the late 1890s and made of marble, it creates movement in the Park with a steady trickle of water.
Popular pieces include the monkey band: a group of stone primates, each with its own instrument and poised ready to play, while the crocodile, lions and bronze pigs are a hit with our younger visitors and budding photographers.
Other sculptures to look out for include the frogs of Beale Park. Designed and made by Park staff shortly after opening in 1956, they are still in their original position, overlooking the stream by the Pavilion – while cranes watch over the Reed Beds, stags stand proud, and a monk keeps a close eye on passers-by.
Beale Park is home to a fine collection of trees both native and ornamental, large and small deciduous (loses its leaves in winter) and evergreen.
The collection has grown over the years and will continue to evolve into the future when new trees are planted to replace old specimens. In this way we are able to keep the landscape alive and support the animal species associated with them.
Some particular trees of interest to look out for in the Park are:
1) Swamp Cyprus