In pictures

Art among the trees in the Forest of Dean // In pictures

Stained glass window at the Scultpure Trail

As you follow winding paths through Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean, don’t be too surprised if you come across a huge wooden chair or a deer spun from iron wire. They’re all part of the four-mile Sculpture Trail. Set up in 1986, it was designed to bring art into nature, with different artists commissioned to produce sculptures inspired by the forest. And almost 30 years on the project is still running, with 16 permanent and temporary artworks. I’ve been visiting since it opened and have some old favourites there since the start – like ‘Place’, a giant’s chair on a hillside overlooking the Cannop Valley, and ‘Iron Road’, a path of carved wooden railway sleepers on a stretch of disused railway track. Some sculptures are so subtle you could almost miss them, like the steel plates on the forest floor of ‘Dead Wood, and some are colourfully eye-catching, like the 15 foot by 10 foot stained-glass window of ‘Cathedral’, hanging between the trees.

Cathedral stained glass window
Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail
Giant chair on the Sculpture trail
Forest of Dean artworks
Sculptures in the Forest of Dean
Carved railway sleepers

The details

The Sculpture Trail starts from Beechenhurst Lodge in the Forest of Dean, where you can park and buy a map of the route for £1 (generally a good idea as the route isn’t always hugely clear and we’ve never made it round without getting slightly lost!). The trail is about 4.5 miles long and takes two–three hours (though there are a couple of marked shortcuts). Entry to the trail is free and the site is open from 8am to dusk. You can find out more about the project and each artwork on the the Sculpture Trail website.

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Art among the trees in the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail – On the Luce travel blog

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27 Comments

  • Reply
    Nadia Marken
    April 28, 2015 at 11:42 am

    I loved this post; it makes me what to visit here as soon as possible.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 28, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      That’s great, it’s a beautiful area – and really not all that well known.

  • Reply
    darwinontherocks
    April 28, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I would love to visit Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean !!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 28, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Fantastic – it’s so nice to introduce people to the part of the world I come from!

      • Reply
        darwinontherocks
        April 28, 2015 at 12:54 pm

        Thank you for doing so ! Otherwise, I wouldn’t have known about this beautiful place 🙂

  • Reply
    lettersfromk
    April 28, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    I really love this post, what a wonderful idea!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks, yes it’s a lovely idea to bring art and the forest together!

  • Reply
    hannah @ traveling banana
    April 28, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Really cool! I love public art especially when it’s blended into an already beautiful scenery!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks, yes the sculptors have all done such a great job of taking inspiration from the forest and creating such a range of different artworks.

  • Reply
    Laura
    April 28, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    What a cool idea! Sounds like it would be such a lovely walk.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 29, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      It is – though even though I’ve done it five or six times I still manage to get lost most times!

  • Reply
    ambitiouswanderer
    April 28, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    How amazing, I will need to start making seperate bucket lists for each country I want to (re)visit. Oh wait, I’m already doing that. Well, this is gonna go on the UK one! Would never have found this if it wasn’t for following you.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 29, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      That’s great – it’s so nice to be able to show people some of the lesser-known places near where I live!

  • Reply
    The Vagabond Baker
    April 28, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Lovely! I haven’t been to the Forest of Dean for years, well, since I lived down in the midlands! Oh a lifetime ago!
    The stained glass windows in the trees are gorgeous, there is something so wonderful about the way light plays in woodland.

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 29, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      I love the stained glass window – especially as it’s decorated with pictures of the forest and the wild sheep that wander around. I grew up about 10 miles from the Forest of Dean but haven’t been back much for years, so it’s lovely to rediscover it again.

      • Reply
        The Vagabond Baker
        April 29, 2015 at 1:19 pm

        How lovely, my ex’s family were from down there so we visited it just for a day. It was nice, I’d love to return.

  • Reply
    shazza
    April 28, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    Art in the forest is such a good idea. We once went to Grizedale Forest in the Lake District and there were pictures hanging up there. There is also a sculpture trail there too. It was Autumn and the theme was ‘Haunting’ so it was quite spooky but great. 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      That sounds great – I think it’s such a good idea to mix up nature and art, and get people seeing modern pieces that they might not think of going to a gallery to see.

  • Reply
    Traveling Rockhopper
    April 29, 2015 at 8:23 am

    great pictures!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      April 29, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      Thanks so much!

  • Reply
    Where's Zoe Now?
    May 2, 2015 at 2:08 pm

    So cool! I love this sort of art, it always feels much more accessible when it’s out of a formal gallery setting 🙂

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 5, 2015 at 11:14 am

      I agree, it’s so nice to see it out among the landscape which inspired it.

  • Reply
    roxellamay
    May 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing this information! I’m a huge fan of art and nature so this is a great place for me to visit!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      May 5, 2015 at 11:15 am

      Great, hope you get to make the trip sometime!

  • Reply
    Sketchpacker
    May 29, 2015 at 6:49 am

    My gosh what a beautiful idea! I love that glass painting, I can’t stop looking at it. How does an artist get involved?

  • Reply
    Noelle
    March 17, 2017 at 11:00 am

    This is really cool! I was planning to go to Tintern Abbey at some point so this would be a good stop along the way as well!

    • Reply
      Lucy
      March 19, 2017 at 11:00 am

      They’ve changed a couple of the sculptures recently so I must go back and check them out!

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