Global migration of life-size elephant sculptures begins at historic Cotswold castle

Article published 22 March 2021

Life size baby elephant sculptures surrounded by adult elephant trunks
Elephant Family at Sudeley Castle

To mark our eagerly anticipated re-opening, Sudeley Castle & Gardens, will set the scene for a mighty migration of elephants grazing the grounds from 12 April to 31 May.

Elephant Family at Sudeley will see over 30 enormous, life-sized elephant sculptures form a trail through the gardens against the backdrop of one of the country’s most beautiful castles, offering a unique, COVID-secure spring jaunt for all.

Supporting our commitment to conservation and preservation, the enigmatic gentle giants form part of environmental art campaign, CoExistence, which highlights the loss of biodiversity caused as humans encroach on wild spaces across the globe.

Launched by the leading conservation charity Elephant Family, the campaign uses indigenous art to turn green spaces into examples of successful human-animal coexistence, both locally and globally. These monumental art experiences, inspired by the Land Art movement, will spark everyone’s imaginations, with the scale and beauty of the giant creations.

Sudeley visitors will be among the first in the UK to see the awe-inspiring sculptures resting alongside British wildlife including our own historic pheasantry, before they mobilise to form a 100-strong herd, set to transform London’s royal parks into the Nilgiri Hills of Southern India this summer, before migrating further to the USA and beyond on their global mission.

The placement of these naturalistic sculptures at the Winchcombe attraction is no coincidence. There’s a personal connection via Lady Ashcombe’s late husband’s nephew, Mark Shand, a well-regarded travel writer and conservationist, who set up Elephant Family and dedicated 27 years of his life to saving Asian elephants.

Lady Ashcombe commented: "I am exceptionally honoured to host the this very special herd of elephants at Sudeley Castle and open our gardens for the first time in 2021, whilst sharing with our visitors the story of India's wild elephants. Our large herd are life-sized and modelled on wild Indian elephants, created deep in the jungle of Tamil Nadu, by the Adivasi tribal communities who live in close proximity to their real-life counterparts.”

"My late husband Lord Ashcombe, whose nephew Mark Shand along with conservationist friends, championed the plight of the Indian elephants and so, giving a temporary home to the herd as they start their global tour, is a fitting memory to both men who loved wildlife and nature. The herd arrives during the annual Easter holidays and we look forward to welcoming visitors to wander through our gardens and meet the wild elephants.”

Promising a poignant and fresh air-filled day out for families and conservationists alike, the trail will run throughout the 10 picturesque gardens, which will welcome visitors for the first time this year. While children can once again enjoy the thrilling adventure playground, and the Castle Pantry returns to serve up a range of delicious, locally-sourced lunch options.

Please note, in line with government guidelines to ensure visitor safety, only outdoor spaces will be open and the castle itself will remain closed until 17th May at the earliest. For those hoping to enjoy the majestic elephant trail in a more tranquil environment, visiting earlier in the week is recommended.

All tickets for the Elephant Family must be pre-booked online and will go on sale on 25th March. Included with admission.

Want to visit Sudeley Castle? Tickets available here

Explore more

There is always something going on at Sudeley…