Grizedale Forest is owned by the Forestry Commission and apparently has “the first collection of site-specific art in the UK” (Forestry.gov.uk, 2016), started in 1977 and now containing around 40 sculptures.
For a site which has been around for so long, you would have thought they would be geared up for directing visitors to the sculptures, but this was sadly not the case. A pretty useless map could be purchased from the visitors centre, but this contained no information on what the sculptures were, only their number and location. There was also no information on how to find the sculptures in the forest. Some were obvious, but others were off the beaten track and only marked by decaying and overgrown wooden posts – something we only discovered after walking past two or three of them and therefore missing those sculptures.
That aside, forests planted for harvesting never make very interesting walks, so adding sculptures is a good way of pepping them up a little. Due to the size of the site though, they are a bit too sparsely dotted around.
Some of the sculptures we found are detailed below. I would have found out more about them, but the official interactive sculpture guide (Grizedale Sculpture, 2016) is also awful, so I gave up looking!
Some Fern, Kerry Morrison, 1997 – very effective and striking sculpture
Romeo, Rupert Ackroyd & Owen Bullet, sited 2013 – Totem like, interesting to look at briefly, but doesn’t keep my attention.
Seed, Walter Bailey 1995 – I like the textures on this sculpture, although they could be more varied.
These sculptures like many in the forest are made entirely of wood, which do work and fit the surroundings, but don’t appeal to me as much as many other sculptures, confirming my like of mixed media in sculptures.
Taking a Wall for a Walk, Andy Goldsworthy, 1987 – Effective, but now very overgrown so hard to see as a whole. His ambition “was for them to be absorbed back into the forest” (Grizedalesculpture.co.uk, 2016), so I guess that was the point, however a raised area nearby would be nice to be able to appreciate the shapes the wall forms.
Overall, I was glad I visited on the way home from a holiday in the Lakes on a dull day and not gone there especially to visit the sculptures. In an area of beautiful scenery this isn’t somewhere I would chose to go over walking in the nearby mountains.
Forestry.gov.uk. (2016). Art & Sculptures (England). [online] Available at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/artroots [Accessed 18 Oct. 2016].
Grizedale Sculpture. (2016). Interactive Sculpture Guide. [online] Available at: http://www.grizedalesculpture.org/interactive-sculpture-guide [Accessed 18 Oct. 2016].
Grizedalesculpture.co.uk. (2016). Taking a Wall for a Walk | Grizedale Sculpture. [online] Available at: http://www.grizedalesculpture.co.uk/taking-a-wall-for-a-walk/ [Accessed 18 Oct. 2016].