A FEROCIOUS storm which tore through Dorset caused destruction at a popular attraction, bringing one of the park’s largest trees down onto a footbridge.

Storm Arwen, which saw winds reach up to 65mph, rattled the 26-acre park and led to a large willow tree at Sculpture by the Lakes to come crashing down last week.

The tree fell onto a bridge linking the main path with one of the private venues available to hire in the middle of one of the lakes.

The debris has now cleared and the park is back to “business as usual” after quick action from owners Simon and Monique Gudgeon.

Bournemouth Echo: A large willow tree came down onto a footbridge during Storm Anwen at Sculpture By The Lakes near Dorchester on Friday November 26

Simon exhibits over 30 of his own sculptures in the grounds, some worth as much as £300,000, but no sculptures were damaged during the storms.

He said: “Trees are a very important part of Sculpture by the Lakes, so it’s always a sinking feeling seeing one go. But we’ve got off quite lightly compared to some and thankfully we have no major damage.

“It’s now business as usual again as we have The Island back open, all paths clear, and Christmas shopping is unphased.”

A chainsaw was used to cut the trunk and main branches, all of which was then moved off the bridge with plant machinery usually reserved for general maintenance of the park’s gardens. Damage to the bridge itself was minimal.

Bournemouth Echo: The fallen willow tree was chopped up and cleared by staff at Sculpture By The Lakes on Novemebr 28 and 29

No other trees fell in the high winds, but a large cleaning effort was undertaken on November 28 and 29.

Particular attention was given to the Artisans’ Bazaar, the on-site shop selling hand-crafted gifts, and Gallery by the Lakes, one of the main art galleries.

Sculpture by the Lakes is open Tuesdays to Saturdays, 10am to 5pm, as is the cafe, shop, and art gallery.