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True Noon Columns
Monumentalising the landscape of The National Forest
Arts Council logo As a part of LANDshapes’ Heritage in the making project, six pieces of exciting, publicly accessible art have been created in The National Forest by internationally renowned sculptor David Nash. David began work on the sculptures in October 2005 and continued through the winter until February 2006. The pieces have been accessible to the public since June 2006.

The artist

Croxall Lakes - site of the Trent Valley sculpture
Croxall Lakes - site of the Trent Valley sculpture
Blaenau Ffestiniog-based David Nash is one of England’s best known land artists, a tradition of artists who have individually different approaches but whose work is primarily linked by its creation or location in a rural or outdoor setting.
David is a master of his craft, carving and shaping wood into beautiful sculpted forms. One highly acclaimed piece ‘Ash Dome’ is sited at a secret location somewhere in Snowdonia! David planted the dome, a ring of ash trees, in 1969 and trained the trees into its domed shape. The location of another of David’s pieces is also a mystery. ‘Wooden Boulder’, a large wooden sphere, was left to weather in North Wales. Over time the sphere slipped and rolled until eventually it was washed out to sea and lost. In an interview with BBC Wales David said that he ‘enjoys the notion that wood which grew out of the land will finally return to it’.
Much of David’s work can be seen on a number of websites including the Cas Sculpture Foundation and the Tate Gallery’s Tate Online

The Sculptures

Grangewood - site of the Mease & Sence sculpture
Grangewood - site of the Mease & Sence sculpture
Each sculpture has its own unique location and appearance. This is explained in the interpretation panels which accompany each piece detailing the artists’ concepts and that they are a part of a set of six which can be visited across the Forest area.
The individual pieces have been created from slender, 3m high oak columns. The columns have been carved with a vertical slot which casts shorter or longer shadows depending on the time of day and the time of year. The longest and shortest shadows are cast at ‘True Noon’ only twice a year - at mid-summer’s and mid-winter’s days respectively. True Noon in The National Forest is approximately 12.10pm in winter and 1.10pm in summer. Each beam will create a line of light in the shadow cast by the column illuminating the surrounding landscaped areas, which have crafted from materials that represent the individual nature of the zones.
The design of the columns, the nature of the ‘Noon’ beam and the use of representative materials for hard landscaping give the sculptures both a function and a continued sense of connection to the daily passage of time, the cycle of the year and the landscape surrounding it.

The Zones

Jackson's Bank - site of the Needwood sculpture
Jackson's Bank - site of the Needwood sculpture
Billa Barra - site of the Charnwood sculpture
Billa Barra - site of the Charnwood sculpture
Needwood – Sited in mature woodland and adjoining the picnic area at Jackson’s Bank, this sculpture stands above a swathe of timber edged wood chippings. Reflecting the surrounding mature woodland, the Needwood column retains the shape of a tree.
The
Trent Valley column is sited at the lakeside at Croxall Lakes in a gravel-lined wetland scrape and surrounded by native wetland plants. The Trent Valley column is be geometric and architectural in shape reflecting its urban surroundings.
In the
Mease and Sence lowlands the sculpture is sited in a woodland glade at Grangewood; a low earth mound, seeded with native wildflowers and grasses creates not only a beautiful setting but promises to be a big attraction for the local fauna as well. This column is spire-shaped reflecting the vista of column spires that can be seen across the low, undulating farmland of this area. The Melbourne Parklands column is sited in a woodland glade at Lount Wood, adjoining the Staunton Harold Estate. Carved with an antler motif this column stands before a path of sun warmed, sandstone flags in contrast to the wide, black circle of brick-edged, crushed coal surrounding the Coalfield sculpture. This charred wood piece is sited in the Sence Valley Forest Park at the site of a former opencast coal mine. The sculpture is located near to the entrance, adjoining the car park. Charnwood Forest’s slender column of beautiful heartwood oak at Billa Barra rises like an outcrop above a swathe of timber-edged granite chips, terminating at one end with a 3 ton granite boulder and accompanied by a low, dry stone wall. The sculpture is located part way up a prominent slope close to the car park.

Funding

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Arts Council and ex-chairman of the board of The National Forest Company & noted sculptor Viv Astling, the six projects will create distinctive areas within The National Forest, unique spaces reflecting the essence of their special landscape and heritage.
Lount Wood - site of the Melbourne Parklands sculpture
Sence Valley - site of the Coalfields sculpture
Lount Wood - site of the Melbourne Parklands sculpture
Sence Valley - site of the Coalfield sculpture

Artist's impressions of the Noon columns

Needwood sculpture - artist's impression

Artist's impression of the Needwood sculpture

Trent Valley sculpture - artist's impression

Artisit's impression of the Trent Valley sculpture

Mease & Sence Valley sculpture - artist's impression

Artist's impression of the Mease & Sence Valley sculpture

Melbourne Parklands sculpture - artist's impression

Artist's impression of the Melbourne Parklands sculpture

Coalfield sculpture - artist's impression

Artist's impression of the Coalfields sculpture

Charnwood sculpture - artist's impression

Artist's impression of the Charnwood sculpture

The beams

These artist's impressions illustrate the angle of the sun's rays at noon
Artist's impression showing the angle of the sun's rays at midsummer
Artist's impression showing the angle of the sun's rays at midwinter
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