Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust proudly unveiled its new sculpture at Rainworth Heath Nature Reserve last week – a giant oak arrow – which pays tribute to the area’s captivating heritage, it’s past and present and deep connection with local legends. The sculpture is the result of a year-long engagement project, delivered by Inspire Youth Arts through the Miner2Major Landscape Partnership Scheme, a five year project supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund that celebrates the diverse wildlife, important habitats, and rich cultural heritage of Sherwood Forest.
The sculpture was created in collaboration with young people from Dawn House School, Joseph Whitaker School, and the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Young Rangers. Artist Richard Janes facilitated workshops with the schoolchildren, working with them on themes of mining, local heritage, and nature over the last year. The children were introduced to wood carving techniques then given the opportunity to ‘make their own mark’ and add their own carvings to the sculpture themselves under Janes’ guidance. The sculpture’s final design features an image of a miner and local wildlife species from the Rainworth Heath site.
Crafted entirely from oak, the final artwork resembles a colossal arrow shot into the ground. Purposefully designed to fuse the rich history of the area with the local landscape and blend into the natural surroundings of the reserve.
The oak arrow sits at the heart of the Rainworth Heath site and will weather naturally. Visitors to the area are encouraged to come and see the sculpture and discover more of the site and its local walks – which is located adjacent to the former Rufford colliery site. The Rainworth Heath Nature Reserve is managed by the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and is one of the last remaining areas of heathland in Nottinghamshire, home to many species of birds, insects, and plants in the heart of the Sherwood Forest area.
The project has been a creative way to engage young people in Nottinghamshire with the natural landscape and local history. Sculptor Richard Janes is currently working with both schools involved the project and will be producing sculptures for each school that link with the Rainworth Heath work.
Erin McDaid, Head of Communications at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, commented:
“The project to develop a new sculpture for our Rainworth Heath Nature Reserve has been a great example of the benefits of collaboration and partnership. Nature has long been a real inspiration for art and artists and we hope that the new installation inspires people to visit the reserve and adds a new dimension to time spent on the reserve.”
Steve Little, Scheme Manager of Miner2Major, commented;
“We’re thrilled to have collaborated with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Inspire Youth Arts to bring this fabulous project to the Rainworth Heath site. We’d like to thank the wonderfully creative pupils at Dawn House and Joseph Whittaker Schools who contributed to the design. Richard’s sculpture is a wonderful addition to the reserve and will undoubtedly inspire visitors for years to come”.
Rachel Yarnall, Head of Arts at Joseph Whitaker School, commented;
“Our students really benefitted from this added cultural experience to their creative studies. They were incredibly excited to have been able to carve this sculpture with a local artist.”
Rainworth Heath Nature Reserve is open at all hours with free entry year-round for visitors.
Posted on 11 May 2023