Walking around Sculpture by the Lakes, even on a blustery spring day, brings an unrivalled sense of calm.

The sculpture park, run by Simon and Monique Gudgeon, has become known for its spectacular pieces of art, created by sculptor Simon, and beautifully kept gardens, lovingly tended to by Monique.

But since it opened – almost by accident– around a decade ago, the park at Pallington Lakes, near Dorchester, has expanded to offer so much more than just an art experience.

Its 26 acres now boast a range of small, intimate spaces available for private hire, as well as its very own Gallery Cafe and exhibition space.

And Monique also now organises a whole programme of winter art events, from stone carving to watercolours, as well as well being activities.

"The spirit of the place just adds to it really", she explains.

"We already have a meditation group which meets once a week, with a Buddhist monk coming once a month to lead the group. He does a day of Chi Gong and Shiatsu healing. That's something that we feel is really getting people interested.

"Carrying on from that, we are doing a four-day wellbeing festival in September."

The event will cover "anything and everything" which is encompassed under the banner of wellbeing, including food and nutrition, as well as practices such as yoga, medication and Pilates.

There will be the chance to have a go at the various activities, sample healthy foods and see the running sand mandala exhibition created by the Tashi Ihunpo Monks, who tour from Tibet during the summer months.

"We are running a summer festival as well, in July," says Monique, "with crafts and art and a certain amount of food as well - all our local Dorset producers and artists.

"We'll also have a garden festival. Things like that fit in with the quiet and tranquil nature of the place. That's kind of what it's all about.

"People have such busy lives. They don't have the chance to get out to the countryside. So that's what we provide.

"So many people say when they come down the drive they get this feeling of relaxation."

As well as feeling relaxed, Sculpture by the Lakes offers inspiration for a range of artists, with Monique now offering the space to those who want to discover more about their creative selves.

"Last Autumn we started arts and crafts workshops," she says, "from October to the beginning of March."

"We have just under 50 courses for 2019-20 – everything from tassel making to photography to stone carving, pottery. Most of them are things that anyone can do, for beginners. Just come and try it out.

"We have gardening courses as well, in the summer, then the winter arts school. It's so nice to be able to host something like that, because people love being able to get in and try things."

Visitors can be inspired by the work on show at the on-site gallery, which launched at the end of November and features a range of Dorset artists including Julie Brunn and Laura Rich. Monique already has a botanical-themed exhibition planned to coincide with the garden festival later in the year.

"I think we are now the biggest art display gallery space in Dorset," she says, "along with the space in our Gallery Cafe. We are going to convert part of the gallery into another studio – where we can do the messy things."

It's a far cry from the plans Simon and Monique had when they took over the space in 2007, when they had visions of continuing to run the fishery that was on the site.

"We had no intention of doing anything like this," she laughs. "We ran the fishery for the first few months. We had a sculpture in storage in London and it was costing us money. We thought we would bring it here, so we could look at it while we were waiting to sell it. It looked rather good.

"Like all artists, they work to the size of their studio. We had all this space to fill. Things would get bigger. He just started to make bigger pieces and all of a sudden it was 'this would make a great sculpture park'."

Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington Lakes, Dorchester 07720 637808 office@sculpturebythelakes.co.uk sculpturebythelakes.co.uk