The Trail’s most iconic sculpture – Robin Pierson

My family went on holiday to the Forest of Dean almost every year during the 1990s. The Sculpture Trail was always a ‘must’ and ideal for keeping two children entertained on a long walk.

The Giant’s Chair, which immediately stuck as a nickname for ‘Place’, always stood out.

Part of the joy of the Trail was the element of fantasy it conjured in a young mind. A herd of metal deer crossing a pond as if frozen in time. Signs calling for silence nailed to distant trees suggesting that something otherworldly was taking place in that part of the forest. A stone split down the middle as if fashioned by a giant blade.

The Giant’s Chair of course suggested that a King Kong-like figure was hidden in the canopy somewhere waiting for the tourists to disappear so that he could return to his throne. Sculptures like ‘Cathedral’ were arguably just as striking but the obviously man-made nature of it leant itself less to the imagination. The Giant’s Chair was so simple, so natural looking that it was easier to suspend one’s disbelief and for a moment picture its ancient origins. You had to have some creative licence in these thoughts because of course the chair had no seat!

But that never bothered me. It was just another layer to the mystery of the mighty seat which stood atop the forest. Some years my parents made us take the trail in reverse order so that the Chair would be our final stop. That seemed appropriate for the Trail’s most iconic sculpture. The only thing which could tear us away was the thought of an ice cream waiting at the bottom of the hill.

Photos: Top: 1991, Middle: 1996, Bottom: 2005.