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Elephant Family arrives at Sudeley Castle

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

The Elephant Family at Sudeley will see more than 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 Sudeley's 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 Elephant Family charity, the campaign uses indigenous art to turn green spaces into examples of successful human-animal coexistence, both locally and globally. It is hoped the 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 sculptures resting alongside British wildlife including its 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 said: "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 its 10 picturesque gardens, which will welcome visitors for the first time this year. While children can once again enjoy the adventure playground, and the Castle Pantry returns to serve up a range of locally-sourced lunch options.

Organisers add that, in line with government guidelines to ensure visitor safety, only outdoor spaces will be open and the castle itself will remain closed until May 17 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 at www.sudeleycastle.co.uk and will go on sale on March 25.

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