New poetry commission – Soil unsoiled

The Forest Of Dean Sculpture Trust has been proud to collaborate with Khady Gueye and Zakiya McKenzie over the last three months on a new commission, Soil unsoiled.


Khady Gueye

‘Soil unsoiled’ is a poem that explores themes drawn from the lived experience of Khady, a local resident and native of the Forest of Dean, and the racial inequalities that she has faced and witnessed. As the founder of the Local Equality Commission in the Forest, Khady works with rural communities to combat racial and economic inequality through supporting local initiatives, inspiring youth and bringing people together in order to enact fundamental change.







Zakiya McKenzie – Image © Adrian Sherratt

Working together with Bristol-based academic, broadcaster, nature-writer and poet Zakiya McKenzie, the pair have created a powerful, poetic work which will also feature sculptural elements and a film directed by Gloucestershire-based Rebecca Achieng Ajulu-Bushell.


Listen out for Khady and Zakiya talking about Soil Unsoiled, alongside Khady’s experience setting up the Local Equality Commission, on the BBC Radio 4 podcast The Untold.


An online art project by Rich White.

Do you have a favourite view of the Wye Valley and Forest of Dean?

Inspired by Bruce Allan’s 1988 sculpture ‘Observatory’ which was part of the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail from 1988 – 2014, artist Rich White has developed an online project called Observatories.

(image supplied by Rich White – ‘The Forest of Dean. I love these breaks in the tree cover where the light comes streaming in. As an homage to Bruce Allan’s original sculpture this Observatory mimics the staircase, but as a shaft of sunlight.’)

During this period of lockdown the project aimed to engage with audiences to imagine the views and locations they couldn’t access around the Forest of Dean and Wye Valley.

(image supplied by Shadowed Eyes – @EyesShadowed on Twitter, He chose this image taken from Eagle’s Nest viewpoint because of its ‘grand view of two great rivers’. The Observatory has two platforms to provide a stunning,  unique view of each river)

Referencing Bruce Allen’s contemplative call to ‘stand and stare’ Rich asked for members of the public to submit photographs of their favourite view of the area, along with a short explanation of why the view is important to them.

Rich then used the images and information to inspire a series of theoretical and fantastical towers designed to make us think about how we look at these landscapes and to help us imagine ourselves placed somewhere else, somewhere impossible.

(image supplied by Frances Davis. Symonds Yat in the Forest of Dean. “Breathtaking” and makes you “stand in awe”. The many steps of this observatory will add to your breathlessness but the view will be rewarding)

(image supplied by Matt Nightingale.  Beechenhurst in the Forest of Dean. “This view stopped me in my tracks. The backdrop of fir trees made me think of a stage with the younger plants performing in the wind for the onlookers of the elders behind”)


You can download a pdf of all the Observatories here which includes a ‘print out & draw your own’ section to create your own fantastical designs!

Supported by Arts Council England & Esmée Fairburn Foundation.

Join the team! We are recruiting two new posts

Applications for both posts are now closed

It’s an exciting time to join the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust as we embark on a new three-year ‘Forest Look Out’ commissioning programme which will see eight new Forest based-sculpture commissions and a new public events programme that will engage thousands of people over the next three years.

We are looking for two exceptional candidates to fill two roles:

1. Freelance Project Manager  £28,750 Pro Rata to 4 days a week, 8 Month contract. Interviews taking place Tuesday 5th September 2017.

An experienced project manager to oversee the production management and evaluation of our world-class sculpture commissioning programme.

Download job description and information document: FODST Project Manager Job Description Project Manager Info Sheet.

How to apply: Send a covering letter describing why you are suitable for the role with an up to date C.V. to Please note interviews will be taking place on Tuesday 5th September at the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail.

2. Freelance Audience Development and Participation Producer £25,000 pro rata to two days a week 2.5 year contract.

An innovative producer to coordinate the development of a far-reaching public and community engagement events programme.

Interviews taking place on Thursday 7th September 2017. 

Download job description and information document: FODST Job Description- Audience Development & Participation Producer Information document- Audience and Participation

To apply: Send a covering letter describing why you are suitable for the role with an up to date C.V. to Please note interviews will be taking place on Thursday 7th September at the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail.

Deadline for both posts is 29th August 2017.

Contact Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust Director, Cathy Mager, Email: for enquiries about either role.

The Forest Look Out programme has been made possible with the support of Arts Council England, Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Ernest Cook Trust, The Summerfield Trust, European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and Forest and Tewkesbury Borough Leader and Forestry Commission England. 



Rainbow Forest pop up den-making event

[fusion_text]Kids enjoying rainbow den building on the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail at Beechenhurst.

A multi-coloured spectacle on the Sculpture Trail

On Wednesday 24th August, we held a one-off pop up art event on the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail. Rainbow Forest was commissioned as part of the Trail’s 30th anniversary celebrations this year. We used an eco-friendly, natural paint to cover hundreds of branches and sticks in bright colours and then invited the public to demonstrate their creative skills.

People of all ages joined in to create a colourful new landscape together. There was great team work and sharing, friends were made, skills were learnt and it was a lot of fun.

There was a huge mix of wonderful, inventive structures made, with big dens and miniature dens, hideouts, tipis and even one giant den with its own bed and kitchen! The final results were vivid and striking, contrasting wonderfully with the natural woodland landscape and the forest was thoroughly transformed into a multi-coloured pop up playground.

Rainbow Forest was inspired by the many dens which have appeared along the Sculpture Trail over the years. Children and families love building improvised dens and structures using debris and tree branches that sit around the forest, and you can’t go far without seeing one.

Rather than ignore all this guerrilla sculpture making, we were inspired by it and decided to create this special one-off event based on the inventive and striking den-making we saw around us.

Rainbow Forest was also influenced by new sculpture “Yaşasin” by Pomona Zipser which was installed on the Trail in July.

The eco-paint was from Earthborn Paints and was clay based. Claypaint provided a completely safe, eco-friendly paint suitable for families and children to handle. Find out more about why we chose this paint here:



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New sculpture: Sentient Forest by Andrea Roe

Andrea Roe Sentient Forest

Luminescent sentient artwork seeks to explore the Forest of Dean’s hidden secrets

15 April 2016 – 14 April 2017 Open by 8am daily

Sentient Forest

Artist Andrea Roe reveals the unseen communication between trees in the artwork, Sentient Forest, a temporary commission by the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail in collaboration with Forestry Commission England.

Sentient Forest seeks to reveal secrets hidden in the forest. Roe’s commission brings the Trail into the 21st century with a technological artwork that utilises LEDs and sensors to create an interactive piece that responds to the presence of viewers. The new work is part of a series of new commissions for the Trail that will be revealed over the coming year, which includes the recently unveiled artwork by Onya McCausland.

Photos of Forest of Dean Sculpture, image rights limited
Walkers viewing Sentient Forest by Andrea Roe. Photo by Max McClure

In collaboration with electronic engineer Al Bennett, Roe made Sentient Forest in response to a scientific theory that suggests every forest has its own communication system known as mycelium, which enables a network of information and nutrients to pass between fungi and trees.

Image by Don A'Bear and Lynne Boddy
Mycelium. Image by Don A’Bear and Lynne Boddy

She uses individually programmable LEDs along with interactive sensors to pick up the presence of the viewer and make visible the flow of information between trees. The artwork exposes the interconnectedness of all living matter and reveals the symbiotic nature of trees and fungi as well as the complexity of growth and decay on and below the forest floor.

“The Forest of Dean commission has given me the opportunity to investigate and visualise fungi to tree communication, a subject that fascinates and intrigues me,” commented Roe. “I imagined that instead of seeking out an artwork on the forest trail, the artwork would ‘sense’ you. Al Bennett and I have produced a microcontroller-driven lighting system which mimics underground mycelial networks and, when triggered, communicates the presence of passing walkers to nearby trees.”

Photo by Max McClure. Photos of Forest of Dean Sculpture, image rights limited
Photo by Max McClure. Photos of Forest of Dean Sculpture, image rights limited

For high res images, press enquiries, and interviews, please contact Kate Gordon,, +44 7980 921961 or Nathan Taylor,, +44 7889 872700.

Click below for full press release PDF.

Sentient Forest launch PR_FV

New artwork on the way by Onya McCausland

Charcoal Measure
Onya McCausland, From 15th March 2016

Charcoal Measure is a line of charcoal on the forest path that draws attention to the scale of the underground coal excavations, 1000ft below the surface. The work may be viewed on the Trail from Tuesday 15th March 2016.

Handle Gently, Onya McCausland 2015
Handle Gently, Onya McCausland 2015

We are also delighted to to be working with the University of Gloucestershire’s Hardwick Gallery on “Charcoal Works” an exhibition led by Onya McCausland in collaboration with 18 artists. Charcoal Works will open at the Hardwick Gallery on 6th – 22nd April 2016. Click here for more information. All of the artworks have been made with the charcoaled remains of the iconic oak sculpture ‘Place’, that stood on the  Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail for 29 years.

Edward Allington 2015
Charcoal Needle by Edward Allington 2015, will be part of Charcoal Works at Hardwick Gallery from 6th April 2016.

Charcoal Measure and Charcoal Works have formed inspiration for Deep Material Encounters, a symposium to be held at Clearwell Caves, Forest of Dean, one of the country’s oldest iron ore mines, on Friday 15th April 2016. The symposium brings together researchers and artists from across the arts and sciences to discuss ways that knowledge is developed, and perceptions altered, through encounters with particular material, in the context of current ecological conditions. The symposium starts at 2.30pm. Book your place at the symposium via Eventbrite: click here. There will be a coach leaving for Clearwell Caves from Hardwick Campus (Cheltenham) at 11.20am and arriving back at 7pm – follow directions when booking to reserve a place on the coach.

Smouldering charcoal on the former site of Place, in October 2015. Photograph by Onya McCausland.


Charcoal Works has been made possible with the support of:

gallery glos uni

Timber and Charcoal from the Giant’s Chair to be distributed


Forestry Commission England in partnership with Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail will give away timber cut offs from the remains of Place on 23-24thJanuary 2016, 10am – 4pm by the Container-a-Cafe at Beechenhurst.

The wood will be available for free on a first come first served basis as long as supplies of the left over wood last.

In addition 100 bags of limited edition charcoal made from the recent charcoal burning event are available for collection from Beechenhurst on the same weekend as part of “Charcoal Works”, an online archive of charcoal artworks led by artist Onya McCausland. If you are unable to visit the collection site, some charcoal may be available via post from January 2016. Please email to register interest for a postal delivery of charcoal. Additional collection sites for the charcoal are available in London and Cheltenham to find out more and to register to be part of an online archive of charcoal artworks go to: You can also follow the developments of Charcoal Works on twitter @turningland


wood 3wood4

Farewell to the Giant’s Chair

There’s been widespread coverage of our plans to decommission Place on local news sites and on BBC Online.  A bat survey is currently being carried out, so there are no specific plans replace the artwork. But we do have an exciting series of new commissions coming soon in 2016 that will be sited in new and different locations along the Trail. To find out more read our press release and you can also read our FAQ sheet.

magdelena jetelova place charcoal prep 1 a83 - 2000

Magdalena Jetelova’s iconic work “Place“, which has affectionately become known as the Giant’s Chair, is to be decommissioned later this year. The artwork was installed in 1986 and was originally only intended to last a short time before being set on fire. Instead the artwork has remained on its hilltop position for 29 years and has captivated millions of visitors from all over the world.

RIGHT: Archive image of Place in 1986 when it was first installed surrounded by woodpiles intended for making charcoal


Over the years trees have soared around the sculpture and now tower over the artwork. Despite efforts to extend its life, the sculpture has begun to tilt and will eventually collapse. Over the years many sculptures have come and gone on the Trail. Some have been removed for safety reasons, others have been reclaimed by the Forest, overgrown or degraded into the ground. As the older sculptures come to the end of their life,  new artworks appear such as our planned commission by Henry Castle. These additions are not intended to replace older sculptures, but are opportunities for a new generation of artists to explore and reveal new ideas about this unique Forest.

pipistrelle bat fc

Magdalena Jetelova’s work has not just attracted humans, but also bats who have said to be roosting in the sculpture for many years. Ecologists are carrying out a survey to find out more about the bats living in the sculpture this summer and ensure that they will be given a safe and long term home nearby.

The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust is planning a special commemorative project to celebrate the history of Place, more details about this project will be announced soon.  We’re keen hear from visitors – send us your videos, photos and memories to


Then and now

The iconic sculpture once stood on an empty hill top, since then trees have grown to surround and tower over the artwork. The two photos below show the artwork during Spring 29 years ago and more recently in April 2015, showing the trees that now surround Place:

magdelena jetelova place long barren view a75 - 2000place_in_spring 1







The arms and legs of the sculpture have weathered and formed many crevices and cracks that have attracted bats to roost hide inside during the summer months.

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New landmark sculptures planned for the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail

The Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust is delighted to announce we have been awarded funding for a series of new artworks.

We will be working closely with the Forestry Commission to oversee the new additions to the Trail. The Trust has also won additional investment from the Arts Council England, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and Gloucestershire Environmental Trust. The new sculptures are to be installed in 2016, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Trail.

A shortlist of some of the UK’s most exciting early-career artists have been invited to put forward proposals for the first sculpture in the new series. The selected artists include: Jonathan Baldock, Anne Bevan, Henry Castle and Semiconductor (artist duo Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt).

For a copy of our press release click here

For press enquiries contact: Cathy Mager, Project Manager

Follow us on  twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with news and developments.