Leafy Wye Valley and the aptly named Wilderness Centre was the venue for the BMC National Council meeting this past weekend… More “BMC Meetings & Forest of Dean Sculpture Trail”
It was forecasted to be very wet on Saturday, so we knew we wouldn’t be out climbing. We decided we should take advantage of the non-climbing weather and get in some more running training. To entertain us we thought we’d combine the running with a little letter boxing – good practice for navigating while running.
Grizedale has a few letterboxes centred around the sculpture trail so we headed over to the Visitor Centre to buy a map. We had already checked the grid references on the OS map, so we marked off the rough areas on the basic visitors map that detailed where the sculptures were and headed off.
The first mark was easy to find and just in time because I was beginning to get seriously out of breath on the up hills.
From here we counted our paces in the right direction and got to a small quarry. After a little lifting and replacing of stones we eventually found the letter box sneakily hidden quite high up.
We headed off down the track passing a few more sculptures heading towards our next mark – another good excuse to stop and catch our breath.
We found the mark (very small sculpture) easily enough, but then we had to follow some cryptic clues, looking for a “wall that went for a walk”. Actually, that wasn’t too hard – there was a very wiggly wall. But the clue mentioned a number of paces to just before a fallen tree. Unfortunately, the number of paces took us directly to quite a few fairly recently fallen trees. We spent ages and ages looking for the letter box, so much so that we completely forgot to take a photo of the interesting wall. Here’s a link: Taking a wall for a walk.
Anyway, we eventually found the letter box and headed off for the next mark. We couldn’t find it at all, and nothing seemed to match the clues, so we decided to push on for the next mark.
This was an easy one – the interesting Seven Stone Towers – and the letter box was very close by.
That found, we decided to double check the grid reference for the mark we couldn’t locate, double check where we should be on the OS map, rather than the sculpture trail map, and try to find the mark. After some back tracking and searching, we still couldn’t find the obvious sculpture that should have been the mark – Habitat. This is a sculpture of some seats, a TV, and lamp, or so I’ve seen on the web, but there was nothing like that at the grid reference identified. I think maybe it’s wrong?
Anyway, feeling disheartened, we pushed on to the next mark – and the heavens opened big style. We threw our waterproof jackets on and continued – luckily we were heading down hill now, so the only thing that hurt was my left knee.
We failed to find the mark, again! I think the rain was putting us off, and after some half hearted attempts to try to make the clues fit the terrain, we gave up and decided we should head back to the car. We had a long way to go, it was raining very hard and my knee was hurting badly so we could only walk.
Oh well. We had some success and some exercise, so it was all good fun. I think we ran about 10km in the end, so not a huge distance considering we had plenty of stops for the navigation, but it was all my knee could cope with.
Here are the stamps from the letter boxes we did find.
I couldn’t help myself wanting to climb on to this sculpture!
While visiting my Mum in Worcester we managed to get out in the amazing winter sunshine to enjoy the Sculpture Trail at the Forest of Dean. It was cold, but the sunshine was amazing. There are 18 sculptures hidden in the forest. It’s a great way to explore the woodland at any time of year, but it was especially nice in the sunny weather with no leaves on the trees, we could see so much more than when we’d visited it before in summer.
Here’s another impressive sculpture, Iron Road, a series of carved railway sleepers.
My only complaint, the £3 charge for parking at the visitor centre. This made sure we didn’t stop and make use of their cafe. Instead, we parked a little way up the road at free parking in a picnic area. The forestry commission are being stupid here in my opinion, charging people to come to the one place in the forest where there is a shop/cafe…