Richard Bavin – A Year in Lea & Paget’s Wood

26th July to 26th August

A Year in the Life of an Ancient Woodland – An Artist’s View

The winter sun breaks the horizon turning the trees into a filigree of grey-browns and silvers while young hazel stems flash gold as artist, Richard Bavin, sits quietly sketching in the heart of a wood…

Lea and Paget’s Wood, one of 55 reserves managed by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, is an ancient woodland with oak, ash, hazel coppice, chestnut, birch, yew and wild cherries of extraordinary girth. The wood has been used and worked by humans for centuries for fuel, charcoal and lime with kilns still in evidence. Today it is a haven for both humans and wildlife.

Doug Lloyd, Living Landscapes Officer at Herefordshire Wildlife Trust explained: “This is the first time we’ve had an artist-in-residence working year-round on one of our reserves. Richard’s drawings and paintings really capture the unique spirit of this much loved ancient woodland.”

Richard, a professional artist working in Herefordshire for over 17 years, sees this as a very special project and partnership with the Trust. “It’s a privilege to be given open access to Lea and Paget’s Wood with its fascinating breadth of trees and wildlife. I love the way the wood is hidden in a cleft in the hillside, it feels like walking into another world.”

Each season brings its own surprises and delights, colours and moods, and special encounters with wildlife. In his diary, Richard writes:

Winter: The environment is at its most harsh and unpredictable. A few copper-brown hazel leaves cling on, but otherwise the trees are bare and today the wood is silenced by a dense fog.

Spring: An explosion of life and energy with an ever-changing carpet of flowers including wood anemone, bluebell, orchid and ransom. The wood is filled with exuberant bird song as the trees burst into leaf.

Summer: Rain falls, now heavy and drumming, now light yet persistent until the sun reappears to make the raindrops sparkle. The wood is a myriad of greens from the canopy overhead to lush ferns and emerald moss.

Autumn: Leaves fall in swirling, balletic patterns as long tailed tits flit about in the breeze.

The wood is a tapestry of rich, warm colours and fungi emerge in tiny clusters through to huge plates.

Working in the wood can be a contemplative experience. Richard relishes the opportunity to be still, to observe in detail and to experience the shifting light and weather. 

“The act of drawing enables me to see more, to notice textures, shapes and even the spaces between the shapes. Through spending a lot of time in the wood, you really get to know the individual trees and their characters. One very special tree is a hollow oak, a boundary marker, amongst the oldest in the wood. One side is a solid barrel while the other is wide open, living and dying at the same time.”

Back in his attic studio, Richard uses his outdoor sketches and records as a starting point for watercolours and oils in which he seeks to distill all these experiences and share them with the viewer.

The Lea and Paget’s Wood series will be on show at the Apple Store Gallery in Hereford from 26th July to 26th August.  The exhibition includes ‘Heart of the Wood’, a 4 metre wide canvas begun as a public art project during h.Art last year. 102 people of all ages and an enthusiastic dog helped Richard with the painting and he has continued to work on it for several months to bring it to completion.  Richard comments:

‘The lovely thing about using semi-transparent paint in layers is that no mark is lost, every contribution is still there to see including at least 3 boot prints and a paw print.’ 

Net proceeds from the sale of the painting will be donated to Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.  If you know of anyone, or business, with a large bare space this could be just the kind of serene image to fill it!

Richard will also be donating his time to lead a charcoal drawing workshop at Lea & Paget’s Wood on Sat 5th August, 9.30-1pm. Materials will be provided and all levels of ability are welcome.

Visit for more details and to sign up for his quarterly e-newsletter.

As usual, we are open for your Framing requirements, which includes bespoke mouldings and customised shapes as well as more conventional frames and mounts for 2D and 3D items.

Our opening times are Wednesday to Friday, 9.30 to 4.30 and Saturday, 10.00 to 1.00. Other times by arrangement.

Unit 1, Rockfield Road, Hereford, HR1 2UA

01432 263937