Elan Valley Sculpture Trail

At the start of October, I partnered with fellow carvers Paul Edwards and Matthew Crabb to create the Elan Valley Sculpture trail. It was rainy, cold, and grey but the bad weather didn’t distract from the beauty of the area. Keep reading to find out more about the project…

About the Elan Valley

The Elan Valley is an area of natural beauty in mid-Wales. Part of the rugged Cambrian Mountains, Elan it’s a beautiful area with mountains, woodland, dams and reservoirs which create a wonderful, living landscape. The views are just stunning! It’s also a haven for wildlife, and one of those areas where you always discover more. You can find out more about the area (and plan a visit!) at www.elanvalley.org.uk.

The area we created the trail was an abandoned Douglas Fir plantation, originally planted during the Victorian era.  The area was recently clear-felled as part of a plan to reintroduce native species and increase biodiversity. They left several trees lining the road and commissioned the Elan Valley sculpture trail. This adds another tourist attraction as well as being a reflection of the wildlife in the area.

The view down the road from the owl sculpture.

Creating the Elan Valley Sculpture Trail

When creating a sculpture trail, the possibilities are endless. Historic figures? Significant events? Flora and Fauna? In the case of this sculpture trail, the Elan Valley team worked with schoolchildren from the community. This is a really great idea if you’re thinking of commissioning a project and you want to encourage local ownership and engagement.

They eventually chose examples of local wildlife: five airborne (barn owls, red kites, woodpeckers, robins, and ravens) and five ‘ground dwellers’ (fox, otter, stoats, squirrels and a badger).

Animals such as this otter were chosen by local children for the sculpture trail.

Elan Valley Sculpture Trail Artists.

Some things are better done in teams, so I recruited help for this project: Paul Edwards and Matthew Crabb. They created all the ground animals while I worked on all the birds. Paul is my employee at the studio, so he features in several of my blogs. For those thinking Matthew’s name is familiar too, he’s the man behind Titan Chainsaw Carving, Titan Treecycle, and Titan Arcadia, a collaborative chainsaw carving business he and I have recently launched.

This fox was created as part of the Elan Valley sculpture trail by Paul Edwards

Visiting the Elan Valley Sculpture Trail

The trail is along a road through the area, so it’s easily accessible whether hiking, walking, or driving. Like most things though, the most accurate way of giving directions is using What3Words. You can find the exact location at https://what3words.com/rift.tree.cornering or open your app and search for rift.tree.cornering. There are some lovely places to stay, and lots to see and do if you enjoy the Welsh countryside, nature, engineering (those dams!) and history.

And if you would like to see the sculptures but can’t make it to Wales, I just found this video on Youtube by H18-Pdw Photography.

Some Thoughts on Sculpture Trails

As regular readers know, this isn’t my first sculpture trail. I have sculpture trails at Lower Farm Holiday Cottages, Meadow Park, Fforest Fawr and Page’s Wood. They’re great for telling a story about your local area or something with meaning to you, and can help drive people to your attraction/area. If this blog has got some cogs turning and you’re wondering if a trail might be right for your business or community, visit my blog ‘Why Commission a Sculpture trail?‘ to explore a little further, or contact me via www.treecarving/co.uk/contact. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

Until the next blog, here are a few more photos of the remaining sculptures from the Elan Valley sculpture trail…