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Trail details

Grade of Trail:

  • Moderate

Trail Waymarking:

purple arrows

Length of trail:

4.5 miles
 

Trail description

Beechenhurst - Forest of Dean

The sculptures on this trail are inspired by the forest - its trees, wildlife and industrial past.

Since 1984 The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust has raised funds to commission artists to celebrate and help us appreciate and understand the life of the forest.

The Sculpture Trust works in partnership with the Forestry Commission which maintains the sculptures and trail.

The sculptures are mostly constructed from natural material from the Dean - wood, stone and iron. They are interspersed along the trail through majestic oaks and towering Scots pine trees

A Sculpture Trail leaflet, containing details of the sculptures for £1, is available at Beechenhurst Cafe. 

There are waymarked shortcuts: Shortcut A (first 6 sculptures) is approx 2.2 miles in length and Shortcut B is 3 miles (first 12 sculptures)

Some of the Sculptures can be accessed with a power assisted wheelchair, please ring the the Forestry Comission, Tel 0300 067 4800, or e-mail using the link provided for further access information.

A New Era

A series of new sculptures have been introduced in 2016 for visitors to discover and enjoy.

Two permanent pieces of artwork, 'Coal Measure Giants' by Henry Castle and 'Yasasin' by Pomona Zipser, were opened in July 2016 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Sculpture Trail. 

Two temporary artworks are in place towards the start of the trail, 'Sentient Forest' by Andrea Roe and 'Charcoal Measure' by Onya McCausland. 

Since the founding of the trail, artisits from all over the world have been invited to respond to the unique heritage of the Forest of Dean.  The trail's sculptures were not simply sited here but developed and inspired by the distinctive qualities of the place.  They have been intentionally left to be reclaimed by the forest over time, naturally eroding from weather, animals, plant growth and the footfall of the visiting public.

The new artworks have replenished the trail at a time when some older sculptures are coming to the end of their life cycle or have been removed for safety reasons (including Place, commonly known as 'The Giant's Chair')

The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust, a registered charity, has raised the funding for the new artworks.  The trust works in close partnership with the Forestry Commission as part of the Forest Art Works programme to support achieving great art for everyone in England's public forests.

 

 

 

What do other visitors say?

5 Stars 5 Stars

My husband & I visited the trail yesterday as visitors to the area, staying at nearby Forest Holidays. We took a photo of the map at the beginning of the trail and used that in conjunction with the purple arrows which we found obvious and easy to follow. We missed two sculptures (we discovered at the end after buying a guide) but I think that was due to our own misjudgement/distraction from the signs/taking in the natural sights and chatting etc. The forest itself is a stunning place to visit and the sculptures offer additional & interesting purpose to an already enjoyable walk. We took the full trail (minus the bits we missed) of 4.5 miles and then enjoyed coffee and cake in the cosy cafe afterward while we looked at the photos we had taken. We would both thoroughly recommend the trail and have discussed coming back (we live in Wilts so not local!) to re-visit and catch the two pieces we missed yesterday. Thumbs up! 👍🏻

Suki, 4/Nov/2016

What lovely comments - we look forward to welcoming you again.

Forestry Commission Response
2 Stars 2 Stars

I walked the trail for the first time in many years. We paid 1 for a map thats was not up to date showing scuptures that weren't even there.

Some of the sculptures are so boring..... the fun things have gone, like the big chair and the swing. Why would new sculptures like something made to look like bamboo be of interest to anyone...i really don't know????

Why can't the swing and the chair be replaced? I remember the swing being something everyone looked forward to, children and adults alike yet now there is just an empty space. I know it is my opinion but if the sculptures were such that enabled the public to have more interaction with, fun and more interest would be brought in. As it is, apart from a couple of sculptures that can be climbed on and the lovely window i found it uninteresting.

As we live locally we use the forest to walk in most days. The trail could be so much better.

Polly, 7/Aug/2016

Sorry if you bought an out of date leaflet - the only one we have at Beechenhurst are the new ones, with only the up to date relevant sculpture information on them.

Forestry Commission Response
3 Stars 3 Stars

Without a map it is very easy to take the wrong route on the sculpture trail in spite of the new purple signs. The main problem is doubling back on yourself after visiting a sculpture. If you don't spot the correct arrow it's easy to carry on the way you were heading on approach - and go wrong. This is confounded by the fact there could be several purple arrows within a small area. It's really quite confusing at times.

Anonymous, 27/Jul/2016

The new purple arrows were put in last month so the route is completely re-signposted. There is a new map available from the ranger hatch or the café and the big sign at the start is brand new too (some people take a photo of that on their phone) so we have tried our best to help people.

Forestry Commission Response
More user comments

Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at westengland@forestry.gsi.gov.uk if you have an enquiry, a complaint or would like a personal reply to your comments.

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Location

OS Grid ref: SO614120

Get directions

Contact

West England District
-
0300 067 4800
westengland@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.