I am a great proponent of the British countryside and love nothing more than exploring the UK. Whenever I go away I love that moment when in the plane you look out of the window and see the rolling English countryside below you. A couple of weekends ago I paid a visit to a friend in Gloucester and she took us on a trip to the Forest of Dean.
The Royal Forest of Dean is located on the English and South Wales border, and is 110 square kilometres of woodland and one of the surviving ancient woodlands in England. The Forest has several trails, and the one we went on was the Sculpture Trail. The trail shows seventeen pieces of sculpture and the aim of the trail is
1.To create experiences and enjoyment of world-renowned contemporary sculpture that responds to the special context of this Forest
2.To provide free and open access to all to contemporary sculpture
3.To provide unique opportunities for artists to make sculptures which are informed by a sustained engagement with the Forest . (http://www.forestofdean-sculpture.org.uk/)
The trail for me personally was a wonderful way of combining art with the beauty of nature and we were incredibly lucky with the weather which always helps. The autumnal colours were stunning, the sun light breaking through the trees illuminated the ever-changing colour of the leaves. As we walked the trail, leaves crunching under foot, something catches your eye in the distance, then as you clear the trees you see its a giant chair made out of wood – this is the first sculpture on the trail.
As you continue on the trail things catch your eye and as you look closer you see its sculpture, art that is slowly being reclaimed by the forest it lives in.
One of my favourite pieces was the Grove of Silence. The signs point you towards the a bench and it isn’t until you look up into the trees you see a sign on a tree saying silence. In its simplicity you sit or stand and contemplate the silence of the forest, its peaceful and thought provoking. http://www.forestofdean-sculpture.org.uk/sculptures/current/grove-of-silence/
One of the last pieces we saw on the trail was the Cathedral, a stained glass window hanging in the air, with the sun shining as it was it was quite magical. The light hit the glass creating a rainbow of colour.
Of course if the sun hadn’t been shining and the rain falling it would have been a different experience but beautiful never the less. This was a great day out, it was a wonderful mix of nature and art, definitely worth doing if you are after something a little more than just a walk in the forest!