Under a Canopy

Artist Alison Carlier has developed an audio guide to lead you through the Rhododendron Wood on Leith Hill. The guide encourages you to reflect on your surroundings and pause to mindfully examine your environment.

Download the audio tracks 

Wellbeing in the Woods

During 2019 Leith Hill Place has been focussing on wellbeing, in particular exploring the link between time spent outdoors and feelings of wellbeing and happiness. As well as yoga workshops, drawing classes and Forest Bathing, artist Alison Carlier was commissioned to create an audio work which could be used by visitors at any time to explore the Rhododendron Wood and reflect on their wellbeing.

Meet the artist

Alison Carlier studied Drawing at Wimbledon College of Art and Fine Art at the Surrey Institute of Art & Design and has since fostered a fascination with sound, winning the Jerwood Drawing Prize in 2014 with her audio piece 'Adjectives, lines and marks'. For this work on Leith Hill Alison has delved into the realm of mindfulness and wellbeing and the impact that being outside in nature can have on our mental health. Her previous work as an Occupational Therapist has informed the choice of location and language. Find out more about Alison.

Learning from the past

It is thought the Rhododendron Wood was planted around the 1850s whilst the Wedgwood family were owners of the estate. In particular credit is given to Caroline Wedgwood, wife of Josiah Wedgwood III. The Wedgwood's would have chosen to plant their garden at this site to enjoy the far reaching views across the estate and created many meandering paths to encourage their visitors to explore further. As well as the many varieties of Rhododendron, which bloom in May & June, many notable trees were also planted including a magnificent tulip tree in the parkland and several giant redwoods.

An inspirational space

The audio guide features music by composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, who grew up at Leith Hill Place and gifted the estate to the National Trust in 1945. Many of his works reflect the peace and beauty of nature. In particular his ever-popular 'The Lark Ascending' encourages visitors to take time to stop and listen to the simple notes reflecting larks in flight. For the audio work Alison has used 'The Phantasy Quintet' performed by Garfiled Jackson and the Maggini Quartet in 2001.

A walk for all seasons

Whilst the Woods look most stunning in May and June once the Rhododendrons are in full bloom, the woodland planting also lends itself to a visit at other times of the year. In October the autumn colours fill the woodland, and on a frosty January morning the stillness and peace is most striking. The artist Alison Carlier was keen to ensure visitors could enjoy the audio guide in all seasons, so created a summer and winter version. You can download both below.

Download the audio tracks 

Under a Canopy references (PDF / 0.1MB) download