Oxhey Woods Local Nature Reserve in South Oxhey, Watford, consists of approximately 100 hectares of principally, ancient semi-natural woodland, much of which has been wooded since the last ice age some 10,000 years ago.
The woods contain a number of walking routes ranging in difficulty, but the highlight is a one kilometre easy access trail. The trail which is circular, starts and finishes in the car park and is ideal for a family visit. On arrival you will be greeted by a striking carved archway to welcome you to the trail and upon closer inspection, you will notice an array of intricately carved tiny creatures designed by local children. As you walk along the trail you will discover numerous sculptures created using natural materials and that reflect the wildlife and history of the woods.
Several larger than life sculptured pieces installed have to be seen to be believed. Together with the entrance archway, a life size armchair and television entitled ‘Living Room’ has been created by internationally renowned artist, Dan Cordell. Also created by Dan and adding to the effect of the ‘Living Room’ is a huge picture frame which has been placed to enable visitors to see the ever-changing vista of the woodlands.Dan, who lives and works in Hertfordshire, won his first wood carving competition in New Zealand in 2009.
In 2010 he went on to beat 24 top international competitors to be placed 1st at the APF European Chainsaw Carving Championships.
As you continue along the path, you will see an array of familiar birds and woodland creatures and, if you look high up into the canopy of an Oak tree by the entrance, you will see a giant stag beetle. All of these sculptures were created by the ‘Tree Pirates’ who undertook a three day residency in the woods and used just one gigantic fallen tree to realize all their pieces of work.
To complete the trail a unique ‘Xylofence’ has been ‘bodged’ using Sweet Chestnut timber sourced from Oxhey Woods. Artist, Will Embliss, worked with the community using traditional woodworking tools and techniques to create this interactive musical sculpture which is 150 feet long!