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New ‘Boat Race’ launched in South Cumbria’s Grizedale Forest

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sculpture in woods at Grizedale

A new sculpture installation, inspired by the form of a section of the River Thames used for the Cambridge vs Oxford boat race, has been launched for the public to visit on the Forestry Commission estate at Grizedale Forest, near Hawkshead, in South Cumbria.

‘Boat Race’ by renowned Artist Keith Wilson can be visited on Grizedale’s Millwood Trail, which begins at the newly revamped Grizedale visitor centre.

The sculpture consists of a 9 metre long walkway, which winds its way through the trees adjacent to the stream in the Millwood.

Made from galvanised steel, the sculpture takes its inspiration from structures found in agricultural settings and leads the viewer through the trees in the Millwood.

Hayley Skipper, Arts Development Officer from The Forestry Commission at Grizedale, says: 

“We’re absolutely delighted to be showing Keith Wilson’s innovative work on one of the sculpture trails at Grizedale. Keith’s work is often playful and subtly humorous and ‘Boat Race’ is no exception.

“As you encounter it the piece creates a dynamic relationship with your sense of the forest and brings a new experience of sculpture to the trail for the public to enjoy.”

Wilson's work explores the capacity that sculptures have to mean different things according to their context. This is the first time that ‘Boat Race’ has been shown in a woodland environment. This work is ‘performative’, engaging visitors by inviting them to physically interact with it.

Keith Wilson’s work is held in many public collections including the Contemporary Art Society; Leeds City Art Gallery and the Saatchi Collection and his 'Periodic Table' work is installed permanently at the Wellcome Collection in London.

This new installation is part of Grizedale’s sculpture trails. The Commission’s forest based art programme aims to inspire and engage people with the development of public art in Grizedale Forest and forge new links between contemporary visual art, sculpture and the forest environment.

Grizedale was at the forefront in the development of art in the environment in the 1970s and the Forest is home to over 60 sculptures including works by Andy Goldsworthy, Richard Harris and David Kemp.

Grizedale has something for everyone with a wide range of walking trails, waymarked paths, forest roads, tracks and bridleways, plus superb views of Coniston Water, Windermere and the Grizedale Valley.

More information about Grizedale Forest can be found at


  1. Images of the Boat Race sculpture are attached. Higher resolution versions of these images are available by calling 01524-782086.
  2. The Forestry Commission is the largest provider of countryside recreation in Britain, with responsibility for more than 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 are managed for conservation, wildlife, landscape and recreation as well as providing a valuable source of timber.

Hayley Skipper on 01229-862015 or 07767-004562 or email  Alternatively, call Sue Gardiner on 01229-862002.