an elegant and seamless addition
an elegant and seamless addition

Museum of the garden, The Newt

Castle Cary, Somerset

Hidden museum with tree canopy walkway

Set into the hillside and hidden from view from the deer park, one elevation opens on to the adjacent woodland, leading to an elevated tree-top path.


Emily Garden Museum forms part of the wider visitor attraction at Emily Estate in Somerset. This includes gardens, cider production, visitor facilities, hotel and a restaurant.

The vision was for the museum to have minimal visual impact so it was built into the hillside with a glazed expanse leading to the adjacent woodland and the tree-top walkway. It consists of a museum exhibition gallery to accommodate approximately 675m2 of display space, visitor reception, cafe, shop and conveniences.

The entrance into the museum is via a 130m long elevated walkway which snakes through the tree canopy at an impressive height of 14m above the woodland floor.

The reinforced concrete frame with slender 300mm diameter 5m tall columns, supports a green roof which blends into the landscape making the building near invisible as the visitors approach the elevated walkway.

The front elevation is glazed with an elegant minimal design visually bringing the woodland and museum exhibits together.

This allows the cafe to spill out onto a decking area which forms a woodland gathering point, physically linking the museum to the elevated walkway.

Internally there are high quality of finishes throughout with attention to every detail.

Resin floors compliment the tiled walls and oak cladding, flush invisible doors were fitted with bespoke, handmade ironmongery and the visitor WCs were constructed to suit curved tiles which formed trough sinks and shelves within each cubicle.






Emily Estates UK Ltd


Stonewood Design

Quantity Surveyor

Synergy Bare Leaning & Bare

Form of Contract

JCT with standard quantities


The project was part of a wider scheme on a multi contractor site.

The treetop walkway was procured directly by the customer from a South African supplier and we needed to create a safe working platform for the installation of the base of the walkway.

Several elements were designed by specialist contractors, requiring coordination with the consultant's design to ensure the same high level of design detailing was achieved throughout the project.


Beard worked closely with Stonewood Architects and Hydrock Engineers to ensure the enabling works of the treetop walkway were installed accurately to enable the installation, with no onsite alteration needed.

We played an active part in the coordination of the works to suit the whole scheme, regular contractor liaison meetings were held.

Sufficient time was allowed in the procurement programme to allow for the detailed design, approval and sample production as requested by the Client.

The Museum of the Garden was shortlisted for the RIBA South West Awards 2021.

Just wanted to feedback to you that I am thoroughly enjoying working with your team on Emily Garden Museum. The main thing I really cherish is that it all feels like we are on the same mission! All pushing in the same direction and looking out for each other.

Stonewood Design