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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

This is our second visit and once again we really enjoyed it. Even though it was -1'C when we started we were soon warm walking up and down the trails. We were amazed how good condition the paths are, being February we were expecting mud up to our knees and there was hardly anything.

We did miss the big chair from last time not being there, hopefully you can find something to equal it in due time, though it was nice to see some different sculptures along the way.

After a thoroughly enjoyable walk we stopped in the cafe and was met with a warm welcome and a delicious bowl of soup, which finished off a great day out for us. Thank you very much.

Dave, 21/Feb/2017

Thank you for your feedback, we are please to hear you enjoyed your visit, hopefully see you again soon.

Forestry Commission Response
1 Star 1 Star

We were seriously unimpressed by the trail. We came here many years before and it was far more interesting then. The walk through the woods was lovely but there is a distinct lack of sculpture and what there is is often hard to see.

Sorry guys but a waste of a day for us.

Paul, 28/Dec/2016

We are sorry to hear this. The actual number of Sculptures has remained more or less the same but they are differently dispersed. A map is available from the café to help locate them. There have been several new sculptures this year and further planned as others have to be removed.

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