Forest to Forest

Forest to Forest was a temporary trail within the Forest of Dean which was available until 31st October 2021. It was “designed to uplift visitors after the hardship of the pandemic and help them reconnect with nature”* The installation was situated within the Sculpture Trail at Beechenhurst but was more family-friendly, accessible and of course shorter too, being only around 1km long.

It had 8 new installations from various artists from the UK and abroad. What a great way to encourage people to get out and about and explore the woodlands. Not only does it bring in tourists but also gives the locals another brilliant reason to go and explore. It costs £7 to park all day or you can buy an annual pass here which gives you a parking pass for;

I haven’t really ventured up onto the sculpture trail since the Giant’s chair was removed. I think many people are probably the same as it was such an iconic sculpture. If you don’t know what I’m referring to take a look at this.

So I thought I would take this opportunity to go back and explore the new sculpture trail. I went with my family, my dog Arlo and of course my camera.

Here are my thoughts…

Tree Hug by Monsieur Plant

This is the first of the 8 installations is a set of 5 ‘tree hugs’. It is a great way to make us really think about our connection with nature. We rely on our environment and in particular trees a lot yet we fail to do our best to protect them.

This installation hopefully encouraged the discussions we need to have more of. As humans, we really need to be smarter about the way we interact with our environment and how we treat it.

Here is a quote from the creator:
Currently, ecological awareness is a big debate, the human must change his habits by respecting his environment more. Trees are an invaluable asset that contribute in many ways to balancing the ecosystem in which we live.” – Monsieur Plant.

I think they are a great way to start a conversation especially with children. “mummy why is it giving the tree a huggle (cuddle)” – this is what my daughter asked me when I showed her. My reply was that trees are really important to us as people so it’s our way of remembering that and saying thank you! Obviously, a lot more needs to be done but it’s a start, making the younger generation more aware of the importance of looking after our planet.

The Trees are Talking by Robin and Isla Collings

This sculpture was the 2nd installation on the trail. It was created by a father and daughter duo who entered an open call for artists.

It was a metal cylinder with a poem cut out. When I visited it was only recently installed but towards the end of the exhibition the steel had started to react to nature and its environment.

Here is a snippet of the poem:

The Trees are Talking
Step in the woods the trees are talking
They feed one another according to need
Nutrients pass from sibling to sapling
A deep connection from elder to seed

Deep beneath the soil these trees are talking,
They embrace. one and other with tangled root,
Gripping tight to this spinning rock,
So let’s tread lightly and enjoy their fruit….

By Isla Collings (9)
and Robin Collings (41)

I wonder what the trees would actually say if they could talk. The stories they could tell!

Animal Shelter by Michelle Cain

This installation was made from wicker and created over an existing bench within the trail. The head of the badger was created separately and attached to the dome shape shelter. The perfect place to sit and pause and of course admire the shelter. Michelle creates giant willow sculptures for various different occasions and events. To see more of her fantastic creations click here.

Graphic Rewilding by Baker & Borowski

Flowers are one of my favourite things to photograph, they are delicate and intriguing. Very often most people tend to walk on by and don’t necessarily notice the flora & fauna and just take it for granted.

I think that by scaling up something that is normally just passed by, definitely gives it more of a wow factor. It makes you pay attention.

“Often when you’re walking in amongst the forest, you don’t look at anything in particular. No one’s getting their nose in the dirt to really examine those flowers under a microscope. […] It’s quite a privilege, in a way, to see this stuff blown up big.”Lee Baker.

The flowers depicted in this artwork are “Bluebells, Columbine, Red Hot Pokers, Lavender, Rosebay Willowherb, Winter Aconite, Chrysanthemum and Poppies”.

Shovel Bugs by Land Atelier

These are so cleverly thought out. There were 50 red ‘shovel bugs’ climbing up the towering fir trees. They were created by repurposing metal and garden hand trowels. There are so many hidden creatures living in the forest and this was a great way to highlight the inconspicuous wildlife living just under our feet.

Escapade by Edith Meusnier

I think this has to be one of my favourite installations. I love the colours on these, they are incredible. They were so eyecatching hidden amongst the trees. There are 18 in total and are various colours of red, yellow, blue, pink and green, orange. They were created using the techniques of plaiting and sprang.

“My installations do not trouble the landscape, light and ephemeral, they cross it like a visual filter or a temporary punctuation. Plaited with joyful gift ribbons, which symbolise both the pleasure of shared festivities and the harmful wastefulness, my work composes a fleeting and seemingly paradoxical staging of vulnerable sites always subjected to multiple aggressions”
Edith Meusnier

Here is a link to a map of the sculpture trail, illustrated by artist James Merry.
Get directions here for any future trails or events.

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