Day Tripper – farOpen Art Trail

The Daffodil Line £6, hop-on, hop-off Day Tripper Ticket allows you to spend all day exploring down the line. Why not grab a Day Tripper Ticket and take a look at some of the highlights of the FarOpen Art Trail, this year running from 1st to 9th July? 

Forest and Rivers Open Studios, farOpen, first established in 1995, is a collective of diverse and talented artists who work, sell, exhibit and run art workshops in the Forest of Dean, and along the Wye & Severn Rivers.

FarOpen organises the annual farOpen Art Trail, providing a unique opportunity to meet artists in their working studios, see sketchbooks, work in progress and buy completed artwork across a variety of disciplines including painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewellery, metalwork, glass & enamelling, printmaking, photography, digital art, textiles, wood and furniture! Through farOpenExhibits we also host group exhibitions to showcase our artists and sell their work.

FarOpen hopes to generate year-round awareness of local artists and generate interest in artworks and workshops to help the community flourish.

Several of the studios and workshops along the trail are right on the Daffodil Line: here’s what your arty day trip might look like. 

Catch the 09.05 from Ledbury and start your day in Ross at the Made in Ross Gallery in the Market House.   Here you will find an eclectic selection of ceramics, glass, and jewellery. Painting, sculpture and more, all made by local artists many of whom will be on hand to chat. The building itself is worth the visit, and if you worry about being pushed for time, you can come back to this one another day, for a longer browse – it’s open all year round, with a changing roster or exhibitions. 

From here head round the corner to Urchins Gallery in Croft Court. Urchins is a brand new joint venture set up by Tara Slater and Julie Cannon to showcase their work and that of other local artists and makers. Tara is a printmaker and mixed media artist inspired by a lifelong love of animals and with a keen interest in the natural world. Julie is a mixed media artist working mainly in watercolours, who has a passion for birdlife and wildlife found on her doorstep in the Forest of Dean. 

Now take the 10 minute walk down the Gloucester Road to visit Ali Tresgaskes in her studio at the Brunel Workshops. This is the first year that Ali has taken part in farOpen Art Trail, at her own studio, which is normally only open to visitors by appointment. Ali creates etched and oxidised silver jewellery, inspired by plant life, architecture and the coast. Ali unique pieces of jewellery are all entirely handcrafted here in Ross. 

Back on the bus at 12.10 Daffodil Line service for the short hop to Upton Bishop Cross and a stroll to Wobage Farm Makers Gallery. Take care on the 10-minute walk down the road to the farm, and take time to enjoy the spectacular views. 

Wobage Farm, nestled in the South Herefordshire hills, was converted to craft workshops and exhibition space by renowned potters Mick and Sheila Casson in the late 1970s. Today eight craftspeople, each with their own unique techniques and inspirations call the gallery home.  Pots are fired in hand-built kilns, willow grows at the bottom of the orchard and timber travels only a few miles from wind-fallen trees to the wood workshops.

If you’re in need of sustenance by now there’s time for a quick lunch at the Moody Cow before jumping back on the 14.24 from Upton Cross to Newent. 

Get off the bus at the Kings Arms stop, just before the traffic lights and head for the large community centre building right by the lights. 

Here you will find the studios of two local artists, Kip Kavalllares and Monique Oliver waiting to be explored. Monique and Kip each have their own unique styles and techniques and you will find the contrast interesting. 

Head down the High Street into town and to the Old Shambles off Church Street for your final stop of the day at the Secret Gallery. Here you will find a mixed show featuring the work of several local artists upstairs, with an Aladdin’s cave of gifts and treats downstairs. You are sure to find something to tempt you!

You could choose to stop off for a drink or dinner at one of Newent’s pubs, or take the bus from the town centre back towards Ledbury, either straight through, or break your journey in Dymock or Much Marcle for refreshments. 

Check the far Open website for more information and opening times: faropen.co.uk/.

We’d recommend doing this trip on a Friday or Saturday. And remember, if you struggle to fit in all the venues on one outing, many of the galleries are open your round. 

Happy day tripping!

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Ross on Wye photo 1