Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail announces two brand-new installations for 2023

Two brand-new permanent sculptures are being unveiled along the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail at Beechenhurst in 2023 - with new shorter and flatter routes to improve accessibility, too.

By Zoe Gater  |  Published

The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail at Beechenhurst is unveiling two brand-new, permanent sculptures in 2023, with improved accessibility measures also being implemented. 

The first new permanent sculptures on the trail since 'Soil Unsoiled' in 2021, both artworks have been designed with accessibility in mind, as part of the Trust's ongoing commitment to making the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail more inclusive. 

Set to be installed just in time for the Easter holidays, the first sculpture 'Meander' by visual artist Kristina Veasey explores themes of access to nature and what immersion in the forest can inspire. 

The steam-bent oak bench is designed to be a resting place, inviting visitors following the trail to stop, observe and spend a moment in the rich woodland environment, with the sculpture representing the resilience and solidarity of the landscape, heritage and people of the Forest of Dean. 

Veasey said: ''Meander' was inspired by my conversations with local people, delving into history and immersing myself in different locations. I quickly fell in love with the uniqueness of this area, the richness of its heritage, the beauty of the landscape and the warmth and strength of character of the people.

'My aim for the piece is that people make the most of resting here as part of their experience of immersing themselves in the forest.'

Ideal for families, the second sculpture, 'Gathering' by artist Julian Wild, is a brightly coloured, interactive artwork which encourages physical engagement from visitors who encounter it along the trail. 

The art installation features 12 coloured metal vertical forms grouped together in a clearing to represent the natural structures found in the woodland. These structures are joined by several mirror-polished stainless-steel elements that resemble woodland fungi. 

Texture panels are hidden on some of the sculptures for people to find and touch, enhancing the experience for visually impaired visitors.

Wild said: 'The purpose of 'Gathering' is to create an engaging, playful, interactive and accessible addition to the Sculpture Trail. I want the work to feel both natural and unnatural at the same time, like a strange forest of brightly-coloured geometric trees adorned with reflective fungi.'

Both sculptures will remain on the trail permanently, bringing the total number of artworks on the trail to 18. 

The new works are close to the Beechenhurst and Speech House Woodlands car parks respectively, with shorter and more level routes to these new sculptures allowing more visitors to engage with the trail - particularly those who experience mobility issues.

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