As spring threatens to start I’m looking back at a visit I made last year to King’s Wood in Challock, Kent.
King’s Wood is a 1500-acre forest in a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Challock, Kent. It is managed by Forest Enterprise for conservation, recreation and timber production.
The forest is an ancient woodland site with both broad-leaved trees and conifers: species include sweet chestnut, beech, Corsican pine and Douglas fir. It is home to a huge diversity of flora and fauna, including fallow deer, adders, nightjars, green woodpeckers, lesser and greater spotted woodpeckers, foxgloves, bluebells and woodspurges. Since 1994, Stour Valley Arts has commissioned artists to make sculptures within the forest and also other kinds of artworks. Artists who are particularly responsive to the nature of this working forest are invited to spend long periods here. As a consequence of their close and sympathetic involvement with the forest, they often use natural materials found in the immediate area, and engage with seasonal and growing cycles.
Sculptures that have been built using natural materials gradually change, even though, for some, the process will be longer than for others. All will eventually become part of the natural forest cycle of decay and regeneration. Day to day, they are transformed by light, weather and seasonal occurrences. Colours and surfaces are alternately dulled and brightened by rain, sun, frost, etc. Weather also affects the visability audio qualities of particular works. As well as sculptures marked on the map, visitors may see the ‘ghosts’ of previous sculptures now being reclaimed by nature. You might also spot experimental pieces made during SVA’s education workshops.
Stour Valley Arts work in partnership with artists and arts organisations, scientists and health professionals, environmental organisations and stakeholders to create high quality art that engages the public in the natural environment.
For more information please visit: https://www.stourvalleyarts.co.uk/