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Interactive art installations to reinvigorate sculpture in Cumbria’s Grizedale Forest to be launched

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Clockwork Forest

A series of interactive sensory installations will be launched this week as part of the first phase of the reinvigoration of the sculpture programme at Grizedale Forest - the UK's first forest for sculpture.

In 1977 Grizedale Forest, which is managed by the Forestry Commission and is one of the most popular visitor destinations in the Lake District, led the way as the first permanent forest setting to inspire a generation of artists in the country.

Now, thanks to funding from Arts Council England and South Lakeland District Council, innovation in sculpture within the forest is being brought back to the forefront of the visitor experience.

Internationally renowned artist group ‘greyworld’ have created an exciting new interactive sound piece ‘The Clockwork Forest’.

The Clockwork Forest has been developed for the Ridding Wood Trail, the most popular walking trail within Grizedale due to its accessibility to all. The artwork takes the form of multiple giant clockwork keys which, when turned, activate magical sound compositions.

Hayley Skipper, the Forestry Commission’s Curator of Arts Development said:

“Grizedale Forest has a rich history of being at the forefront of providing a unique and atmospheric setting for inspirational art which has drawn visitors locally, nationally and internationally for more than 30 years.

“The fabulous new installation by greyworld on our most popular trail is the first phase of a programme which will re-establish Grizedale as a top destination for seeing sculpture in the environment. This is a major new piece by an extremely innovative group of artists and we are delighted that this work will provide a magical experience for all to enjoy for many more thousands of visitors to the forest.”

Another major new commission, ‘The Wood for the Trees’, will be launched on the same day – Thursday, October 6. The installation, by muf architecture/art, consists of a huge section of oak tree that fell during the severe storms of 2005. The tree has been reclaimed from the forest and installed on steel props in the entrance walkway to Grizedale Visitor Centre. The artwork interprets the forest environment and seeks to make new connections between the visitor centre and the wider forest, providing a unique first impression for visitors to the centre.

These new commissions form part of a wider initiative called ‘Arts Roots Grizedale’ which will reposition art in the environment at the forefront of Grizedale’s visitor experience. The initiative is supported by £95,000 from Arts Council England’s National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme and £80,000 of funding from South Lakeland District Council through the Playbuilder programme.

A further nine established and emerging artists have been commissioned to develop innovative ideas for new high impact works within the forest on two of its walking trails. There will also be a cycle-able sculpture created for two-wheeled visitors to enjoy.

Michelle Freeman, Senior Manager Grants for the arts Assessment (Visual Arts) at Arts Council England, said:

“Art Roots Grizedale creates fresh opportunities for artists to develop new work responding to the beauty of the landscape at Grizedale Forest. The project promises to reach significant new audiences for the arts, offering an inspiring experience for visitors throughout all stages of the project – from start to finish.”

A dedicated website containing information and images of the sculptures in Grizedale Forest has been created at

More information about Grizedale Forest can be found at



  1. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

  2. The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain with responsibility for over one million hectares (2.4 million acres) of forest, woodlands and open countryside. The North West England Forest District covers the Lake District in Cumbria, the Forest of Bowland in Lancashire, Merseyside, Greater Manchester and Cheshire. The forests today are managed for conservation, wildlife, landscape and recreation as well as providing a valuable source of timber.

  3. Playbuilder is a two-year funding stream from the (former) Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF). South Lakeland District Council was successful in its bid for this government funding in 2009, to be allocated via the Play Partnership. This project represents completion of the delivery of the Playbuilder funding in South Lakeland. Year 1 distributed £80,000 worth of funding for play opportunities in 7 separate projects in South Lakeland. In Year 2 the South Lakeland Play Partnership wanted to invest all the £80,000 in one project which combined art and/or landscaping with an inspiring play opportunity which would provide an inclusive challenge for 8-13 year olds and not be dependent on the installation of traditional equipment.

  4. Arts Council England works to get great art to everyone by championing, developing and investing in artistic experiences that enrich people’s lives. We support a range of artistic activities from theatre to music, literature to dance, photography to digital art, and carnival to crafts. Great art inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves, and the world around us. In short, it makes life better.  Between 2011 and 2015, we will invest £1.4 billion of public money from government and a further £0.85 billion from the National Lottery to create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country.

  5. Arts Council England's Grants for the arts scheme awards National Lottery funds to support arts activities that engage people in the arts and helps artists and arts organisations with their work. Find out more at

  6. greyworld
    greyworld is a world renowned arts group that make art for public spaces. They create installations, sculptures and multiples. Their primary objective is to create public art that allows some form of creative expression in areas that usually exclude or ignore it.

  7. greyworld have created works in some hugely coveted locations across the world, and they now have permanent installations in twelve countries. In 2004 they launched 'The Source', a permanent installation for the London Stock Exchange which was unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and has been seen by millions on television around the world.

  8. In 2010, they unveiled 'Paint' an installation created for Nokia used worldwide in their advertisements. It has recently been nominated Interactive artwork of the year by the Design Museum. Other artworks were also created for the Kopernicus centre in Warsaw and the Centralworld centre in Bangkok. They are currently working on a very special installation for St Petersburg, Russia.

  9. muf architecture/art
    muf architecture/art are a collaborative practice of art and architecture. muf have established a reputation for pioneering and innovative landscape projects that address the social, spatial and economic infrastructures of the public realm. muf art projects critically intersect at the point between desire and experience, object and idea, how we live and who we are. In each situation the creative process is the mechanism to involve and inspire the potential viewer as participant or co-author of the work. 

  10. muf have worked with a long list of prestigious clients to deliver small and large scale temporary and permanent projects and have received many accolades including being the 1st ever UK winners of The European Prize for Public Space in 2008 for Barking Town Square. muf curated Villa Frankenstein for the British Pavilion at Venice Architecture Biennale 2010 and were Visiting Professors at Yale University, USA.

MEDIA CONTACTS:Hayley Skipper or Antony Mottershead on 01229 862015 or and Sarah Bruce, the Forestry Commission’s Marketing Manager in Cumbria, on 01229 862011  07827 232832 or