The Oak Wood Sculpture Trail, made possible partly thanks to funding from the Tesco “Bags of Help” Scheme, was officially opened during our Summer Fayre in August.

The extension to the existing Sculpture Trail aims to encourage wider exploration of the site in the north-western part of Rushmere Country Park and includes sculptures of the Green Tiger Beetle, Common Lizard, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Damselfly, created by sculptor Ian Freemantle.

The trail also features carved benches, created by Peter Leadbeater, featuring the Emperor Moth, bluebells, Green Tiger Beetle and adders providing points of interest around the 1.5km trail. These features used local materials, including timber from Rushmere and rhododendron wood, a by-product of conservation management activity. Both Ian and Peter worked on the original sculpture trail, so we were delighted to have them both involved again.

The trail has been designed to raise awareness of heathland and woodland habitats and the species found in them – some of which already occur in Oak Wood, others we hope to see in the future as a result of habitat restoration.

Interpretation panels have been installed to highlight the trail and the conservation management work within the Oak Wood part of the site, produced by Bedfordshire-based designers Redfoot.

The trail also includes a ‘viewing frame’ through which it is hoped visitors will be able to watch an area of heathland evolve – created by local woodworker Ed Burnett and including engravings based on designs by a group of home-educated children who visit Rushmere regularly.

We are grateful for the funding provided by the Tesco ‘Bags of Help’ scheme, voted on by local people in the Leighton-Linslade area, and also funding provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership.