As part of an exciting new Art in the Park initiative, The Conservancy welcomed the arrival of the first two sculptural benches, or Benchmarks, on February 1st, 2024. Sculpted by the Scottish artist, Nigel Ross, the two Benchmarks are the first in a planned trail of five such Benchmarks throughout the Park.

While Ross has a couple of his sculptures in the US, the Benchmark Trail is unique both in the US and worldwide. As functional art, they are designed to be sat and climbed on and we encourage you to bring your children to experience them. Both sculptures are approximately 11 to 12 feet long and weigh half to three quarters of a ton.

Crossways sits on the knoll at the north end of Jeniam Meadow. Crossways is sculpted from a single piece of Sessile Oak. The tree, which originally stood on Viscount Chelsea’s Estate near Blairgowrie, was blown over in a big storm in 2021. It was transported by a local farmer to Ross’s neighboring farm workspace before setting off on its journey to Waveny. 

Arbor temporarily graces the driveway between Lapham Road and Waveny House. Once the ground dries out, Arbor will move to its permanent location at the back of the house bordering the lawn and meadow. Also from the same Scottish Estate, Crossways is made from a Petraea Oak and is also sculpted from a single piece of the trunk. 

None of this would have happened without the inspiration of Carole Clarkson. Via her family’s Jeniam Foundation, Carole and her family have provided unwavering support to Waveny Park Conservancy. Their generous donations have enabled the creation of Jeniam Meadow and in the summer of 2022, Carole raised the question of whether we could install a bench or two in the meadow. She brandished a photograph of a remarkable looking bench, simple and organic in design, and asked “Why can’t we do something like this?” 

Why not indeed! Following a degree of sleuthing with the help of Google, we identified Nigel Ross as the sculptor and the idea of Benchmarks was born.  

To our delight, Bob Seelert, the founding Chairman of Waveny Park Conservancy was also excited to support the project with a donation from The Seelert Family Foundation. Both Benchmarks subsequently received unanimous approval from the Park & Recreation Commission and in the Spring of 2023, Ross started work.

Finally, we are extremely grateful to Tiger Mann and his team from Public Works who made the unloading and installation look so simple. 

Truly a case of ‘from acorns to oaks” and beyond!