New Time to Connect Art Trail links six stunning nature and heritage sites across Nottinghamshire

Published 8th May 2024

The Time to Connect booklet open on a teal background

A new arts trail connecting six locations across Nottinghamshire encourages communities and visitors to take the ‘time to connect’ with heritage and nature in their local surroundings.

The new Time to Connect trail features a series of six artworks created and installed by artist and sculptor Chris Campbell based at the sites of Papplewick Pumping Station, Newstead Abbey, RSPB Sherwood Forest, Rufford Abbey, Vicar Water Country Park and Bestwood Country Park. Inspire: Culture, Learning and Libraries and the Miner2Major Landscape Partnership Scheme (supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund) collaborated on the project to connect local artists, venues and community groups to help leave a legacy of artworks in key locations across Sherwood Forest.

Four people stand next to the sculpture of the metal peacock with colourful glass feathers

The trail is the result of Inspire and Miner2Major’s work with The Big Draw, and was sparked by the 2023 theme #DrawingwithSenses to connect communities with nature and the world around us through sensory exploration. Visual artists Mandy Keating, Tracey Meek and Chris Campbell teamed up with local groups and school children to create drawings inspired by Nottinghamshire’s heritage and landscapes, and the artwork from those workshops has been used by Chris in his designs for the sculptures along the trail. Groups involved in the project include children from the 28th Nottingham Boys Brigade and Girls Association, Newstead Primary School, Beardall Fields Primary and Nursery School, Bilsthorpe Flying High Academy, 1st Edwinstowe Rainbows and Brownies and 1st Clipstone Beavers, Cubs and Scouts. Each sculpture on the trail invites you to Take ‘Time to Connect’ with this place and with each other.

The trail is part of a wider national project led by renowned portrait photographer, Alistair Morrison. Alistair has created Time to Connect, photographing people and places around the UK, and Nottinghamshire is the starting point for this journey. The Time to Connect project is the largest undertaking of his career; a five-year journey will take Alistair the length and breadth of the nation in a converted camper van to capture a portrait of the UK, post Brexit, post pandemic, to document people and places from all walks of life. Central to the project is Alistair's mission to meet and connect with people of diverse backgrounds across all 100 counties of the UK. Alistair will be capturing the journey and people’s stories through his camera lens as well as through film and podcasts. Alistair is connecting with local artists, sculptors, makers, designers, gardeners and creatives, who are creating beautiful pieces of art in each of the 100 counties; inviting people to visit, appreciate and take time to reflect while viewing them. Nottinghamshire’s Time to Connect trail is the first of these artistic projects to be completed.

The Time to Connect Art Trail booklet is available to view and download from the Inspire website: Home | Inspire - Culture, Learning, Libraries (

Copies are available to pick up at all Inspire libraries, all six sculpture sites and Nottingham Tourism Centre now. 

“Time to Connect is a project of passion – it allows art to connect us all. Moments of reflection, moments of inspiration, moments of pause. With such an ambition to travel North, South , East & West to all corners of the UK, I was in search of that very first county to embrace the idea to breed confidence in others. That county was Nottinghamshire.

Without you, without our shared ambition, I couldn’t have got this far. Thank you”. 

- Alistair Morrison, Photographer and Creator of the Time to Connect project

“It’s been brilliant to work alongside Alistair and so many fantastic artists, community groups and local heritage organisations to bring this project to Nottinghamshire. With huge thanks to our six sculpture venues who worked alongside our Libraries and Culture team and Sculptor Chris to bring this community arts trail to life. The Time to Connect trail is a fabulous way for people to connect with arts, heritage and their local nature sites. We hope people will feel inspired by Alistair’s journey and step out to explore the sites and discover art on their doorstep this Summer".

- Peter Gaw, Chief Executive Officer of Inspire

“The Time to Connect trail has been one of Miner2Major’s biggest projects to date and as our scheme comes to an end, we’re delighted to be launching this alongside our partners at Inspire. Each stop along the way features a fabulous location and thanks to National Lottery players the trail will encourage people to explore the rich heritage of Sherwood Forest and immerse themselves in the beauty of our natural spaces for years to come"

- Steve Little, Scheme Manager of Miner2Major

“The incredible sculpture at Vicar Water Country Park was inspired by the artwork created by Clipstone Scout group after they learned all about the nature in the area, so this installation really is a beautiful combination of heritage, art, nature and our local community! How lovely that Vicar Water, home to such a variety of wildlife and biodiversity, is now home to art inspired by those very inhabitants!”.  

- Councillor Emma Oldham, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services and Biodiversity at Newark and Sherwood District Council

“It is an absolute joy to be part of The Big Draw’s Time to Connect Art Trail, and I am so excited to see the sculptures installed at each of the six heritage sites, including our very own Green Flag Award-winning Vicar Water Country Park.

“The trail is going to be such a wonderful way for people to connect to the environment around us, and see how art is all about drawing inspiration from the world around us and letting creativity take over! I hope everyone feels inspired as they enjoy the trail, I know I will!”.

- Councillor Rowan Cozens, Deputy Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council and Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and the Arts

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