In 1986 Fay Godwin was commissioned to take a series of photographs of people and places in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire. Her commission was one of several, mostly to sculptors, who were to install site-specific works in the area around Beechenhurst, in the heart of the forest. Ultimately, the sculptures constituted the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail and the photographs by Godwin were published in a book called The Secret Forest of Dean, with a foreword by Edna Healey.
The images were originally exhibited in a partner show at Arnolfini, Bristol, at the same time as the trail went public. The Arnofini founder and director, Jeremy Rees, worked with his curator Rupert Martin and with Forestry Commission forester Martin Orrom to initiate the trail and twenty-one years later many of the sculptural works are still there, alongside more recently commissioned pieces.
Until June 2007, the photographs had not been seen publicly as a group since then. Ten images were shown in a small gallery on the outskirts of the Forest of Dean, in Newnham Village. The George Café has a discrete gallery upstairs and was a perfect location, as the gateway to the Forest, to show these wonderful works that demonstrated how little things have changed in the Forest in twenty-one years.