Return to the Sculpture Trail
If you had seen my post a couple of weeks ago where we visited the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail, then you will know things didn’t go to plan. We still had quite a few of the sculptures left to see. However, now we had previous experience on our side. This time we stuck to the path and visited the remaining sculptures in order.
Firstly we went to The Heart of Stone. This was made of local stone which was reminiscent of a mine shaft to echo the mining history of the forest, and a fish-like shape to represent the forest’s location between the rivers Wye and Severn.
Next was Yasasin. This was only erected last year and has obviously become a favourite with visitors as you are invited to interact with the sculpture. The girls were soon joining others to climb and walk over the structure. Emily enjoyed using it as a platform off which to jump to Rich.
Unlike Yasasin, most of the other sculptures between about 20 and 30 years old. A lot of them are designed to start returning to nature and returning to the forest. This can be seen with Raw – a huge cube of ancient wood which is gradually rotting away. There is something beautiful and fascinating about this. I loved the fungi growing on its surface, contributing to its decay.
Where Raw was fascinating, Hill33 was a bit disappointing. It is a large structure built from industrial engineering material and filled with local coal spoil. It is now overgrown with plants. With its size, and planned decomposition, it is now surrounded by a fence to keep the public safe. It means you can’t really appreciate in the same way as Raw.
I had visited the Sculpture Trail with my new Year 7 tutor group exactly 9 years ago to the day (thanks for that Facebook!). Black Dome was definitely a bit larger and more impressive then. In that time, the 900 pieces of charred larch has been packed down by many feet. My girls felt the need to do their bit.
The girls didn’t need to be stood on a sculpture to spoil a potentially lovely picture of the two of them. Anything that they could stand on and gurn was acceptable.
Following the actual trail this time really did help. You might have missed the Fire & Water Boats if you weren’t expecting to see the carved wooden structures down off the path, next to an industrial waterway.
The same could be said of Searcher – the life-sized creature away from the path amongst the trees.
In Situ could also easily be missed. You may not at first notice that amidst the English woodland is a mass of bamboo. On closer inspection, even this isn’t as it seems, as some of the bamboo “stems” are actually made of metal.
You do expect to find fir cones and acorn cups in the Forest of Dean. However, in Cone & Vessel, they are supersized.
Every time we visit Beechenhurst Lodge, I always expect the forest to be much busier than it is from the number of cars in the car park. It never feels busy. As you walk around, you meet a few people, but it is a quiet and peaceful place. This is reflected in Grove of Silence.
The final two sculptures go back to the mining history in the forest. House is a really tall house which not only resembles a house, but also a mineshaft.
One of my favourites is Iron Road. This consists of twenty railway sleepers. It is a real surprise to come across this as you head down the path. What I really love is that on each sleeper, there is a different carving that illustrates an aspect of the forest. It is a sculpture that draws you in, as you realise that there is much more to it than there is on first inspection.
Although we were really successful in finding the sculpture this time, we still have one more left to find. Definitely a good excuse for another visit!