Rachael Bint

The Land, the Water

Photographs of Friston Forest


Friston Forest is a largely beech plantation situated within the South Downs National Park, northeast of Cuckmere Haven in East Sussex, England. The site is owned by South East Water and predominantly managed by the Forestry Commission. Land was let on a 999-year lease to the Forestry Commission who started planting the forest in 1926, as a source of timber and to protect the chalk aquifer for Eastbourne and the surrounding area. Although it may appear, the site is not ancient or semi-natural.


Photographs of Friston Forest considers an area of managed landscape. The pictures look overgrown and uncultivated, casting dense shade on the understory despite being protected through prudent management. These photographs focus on a desolate site of dense woodland. They suggest how nature has the innate disposition to disregard the enforcement of regulation and control. I have set out to frame the biodiversity of Friston Forest, undeterred by the complex formulation of the landscape. My journey follows no linear narrative; I made the work by walking through the forest, reading the landscape and translating my experiences. Drawn towards nature, and man’s intervention upon it, the series extracts elements of managed wilderness that manage to feel wild.