Temple of Aeolus and Woodland Garden

Sir William Chambers designed and built the Temple of Aeolus in the 1760s.

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Temple of Aeolus - autumn

Temple of Aeolus

Did you know?

  • Aeolus was the mythical king of storms and winds, inventor of sails and a great astronomer.

History and design

Sir William Chambers designed and built the Temple of Aeolus in the 1760s. Princess Augusta’s accounts mention that the seat, which revolved to provide visitors with a panoramic view, was paved in 1765. By 1845, the temple had fallen into a ‘ruinous state’ and was rebuilt by Decimus Burton in stone. It has since stood proudly on top of Cumberland Mount, an artificial hill created using spoil from the Lake and enclosing a brick water cistern. This is located at the southern end of the Order Beds.

The Temple of Aeolus, which can be accessed via a bark path, is now the focal point of the Woodland Garden, which emulates a natural woodland. A deciduous canopy of mature oaks, limes and birches provides shade for an under-layer of maples (such as the coral bark maple Acer palmatum ‘Sango-kuku’) and rhododendrons (for example, Rhododendron ‘Bulstrode Park’). These, in turn, protect low-growing shrubs such as hostas (including Hosta longissima), bellflowers (Campanula latifolia), hellebores, primulas, North American trilliums and Himalayan blue poppies.

Renovation and conservation

Kew renovated the temple and reconstructed the badly worn Woodland Garden’s paths in 2009.

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