Ambush - above ground Ambush - below ground

ambush was an ambitious temporary architectural intervention located in The New Forest at Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, which invited visitors to explore the world beneath their feet.

Engineered tunnels were dug to expose the roots of living trees and capped with glazed roofs to offer views down into them and out through them. Visitors travelled 2 metres under the earth to experience the darkness, moisture and narrowness of tunnels running below two mature Western hemlock trees. The title ‘ambush’ anticipated visitors’ surprise at encountering the sculpture from above ground; 2 openings and 3 glass panels discretely set amidst the forest floor. In this mysterious subterranean world riddled with references to myth, birth/growth, underworlds and death - visitors found themselves challenged to engage with that which is normally unseen and unknown.

‘We do not have to be long in the woods to experience the always rather anxious impression of “going deeper and deeper” into a limitless world. Soon, if we do not know where we are going, we no longer knew where we are’.

Gaston Bachelard, The poetics of space 1994

ambush was created in 2000 as a Year of the Artist project hosted by ArtSway and the Forestry Commission at the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, The New Forest, Hampshire.

Supporting organisations:
  • Year of the Artist project
  • T. J. Thickett & Associates
  • Price & Myers Consulting Engineers
  • Hansen Glass Processors
  • Milton Steel Fabrication Ltd
  • David Cutler
  • Nick J. Filbee
  • Arts Council England
  • ArtSway