Rectory Nurseries – Ashton-in-Makerfield, England - Atlas Obscura

Rectory Nurseries

Ashton-in-Makerfield, England

Quirky outsider art transforms this garden shop into a little stone fantasyland. 


Colorful, charming sculptures fill the grounds of this independent nursery. The concrete people stand amid the greenery, transforming the store into a bizarre little village of outsider art.

The shop, which was established over 40 years ago, is run by father-son duo Kevin and Carl Duffy. Though they sell gardening goods and hardware, that isn’t the main reason people pop into the small nursery.

Its verdant grounds are dotted with delightfully quirky outsider art, making the place look like a stone fantasy village. Concrete sculptures stand atop the pebbles and whimsical bas-reliefs blanket some of the walls. Many of the sculptures are silly versions of historical and literary figures, giving the whole garden a wonderfully cheery atmosphere.

Kevin started crafting the artwork after the death of his wife. He began constructing Tudor-style facades, then later added free-standing sculptures and structures into the mix. Most of the whimsical artwork is made from recycled scrap materials. Kevin event built a tiny chapel, which visitors can step inside. There, they can light a candle and leave behind some cash, which the store owners will donate to charity.

Know Before You Go

It's opposite the Blue Bell pub and is open from 10:00 to 4:00 most days of the year. You can enter the area that houses the artwork by making a small charitable donation.

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