The Wild Horse of the Valkyrie statue at Beale Park
The rider is one of the twelve war maidens who chose the warriors to be slain and then conducted them to Valhalla where they feasted with Odin the chief deity of Norse Mythology.
In Norse mythology, a valkyrie (from Old Norse valkyrja "chooser of the slain") is one of a host of female figures who decides who falls and dies in battle. Selecting among half of those who die in battle (the other half go to the goddess Freyja's afterlife field Fólkvangr), the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla, ruled over by the god Odin. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar. When the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bear them mead. Valkyries also appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes companied by ravens, and sometimes connected to swans or horses.
Beale Park has an interesting collection of sculptures featured in the grounds.
Gilbert Beale, the Park’s founder, loved all things that were different, and brought many unusual and curious pieces together. The most notable of these is this charging horse called The Valkyrie, which dominates the pathway leading to the Pavilion. Another outstanding exhibit is the Italian Fountain: commissioned by Whitaker Wright in the late 1890s and made of marble, it creates movement in the Park with a steady trickle of water.
Popular pieces include the monkey band: a group of stone primates, each with its own instrument and poised ready to play, while the crocodile, lions and bronze pigs are a hit with our younger visitors and budding photographers.
Other sculptures to look out for include the frogs of Beale Park. Designed and made by Park staff shortly after opening in 1956, they are still in their original position, overlooking the stream by the Pavilion - while cranes watch over the Reed Beds, stags stand proud, and a monk keeps a close eye on passers-by.
Beale Wildlife Park and Gardens is situated by the River Thames, between the villages of Pangbourne and Lower Basildon in Berkshire, England. It has three main areas of attraction: collections of small exotic animals, farm animals and birds; landscaped gardens and woodlands; and children's play areas.
The park was founded in 1956 by Gilbert Beale as his own private park. He was a keen collector and breeder of peacocks and these birds still roam free in the
park. The park is known locally as both "Child-Beale" (after the founding charity) and colloquially as "The Peacock Farm."