Bookmark and Share

Examples of Public Art in the South West: Art on the National Cycle Network

Sustrans: Art & the Travelling Landscape

The National Cycle Network created by Sustrans is not only an intricate webof alternative transport arteries, it is also the longest outdoor galleryin the world. Interspersed along the 10,000 miles of cyclepaths are overa thousand sculptures and other public works of art. Sites are free and opento all.

The following paths in the south west contain a series of artworks.

For further details, contact: Katy Hallett, Sustrans Art Programme, 2 CathedralSquare, College Green, Bristol BS1 5DD. Tel: 0117 926 8893; Email: [email protected].

Bristol to Bath

Fish on its Nose by Doug Cocker; Date of commission: 1992; Photographer: Kai Paulden

Constructed on the track bed of the former Midland Railway between 1979 and 1986, this route was one of the first links in the National Cycle Network and is now one of the most popular paths in the UK. To date, there are over 26 works of art along the route including Beside Still Waters by Peter Randall Page at the start of the path in Bristol and Fish on its Nose by Doug Cocker.Other commissioned artists include, Steve Joyce, Gordon Young, Jim Paulsen, Michael Fairfax, and Jim Partridge & Liz Walmsley.

Bristol to Taunton

Willow Walk by Katy Hallett; Date of Commission:1998; Photographer: J Bewley

This section links with the Parrett Trail near Bridgewater. Works along the route include Somerset Space Walk, a scale model of the planetary system by Pip Youngman; Willow Walk by Katy Hallett, a series of arcades, tunnels and avenues of living willow; and Syrens by Barry Cooper and Laurence Parnell, a series of nine musical sculptures marking the pilgrim route between Wells and Glastonbury. Mark Merer, Lucy Glendinning & Deborah Jones also completed commissions.

Radstock to Frome (Colliers Way)

Linear Orchard by Sustrans; Date of Commission: 2005/2006; Photographer: Katy Hallett Cycle Sign Waymarkers by Liz Turrel and Imi Murf; Date of Commission: 2005; Photographer: Katy Hallett Fussell’s Railings by Jez Pearson; Date of Commission: 2006; Photographer: Jez Pearson Stone Column by Jerry Ortmans; Date of Commission: 2006; Photographer: Sustrans

A 23-mile rural route that leaves the Kennet and Avon Canal at Monkton Combe and meanders through impressive countryside along a disused railway line. The overarching concept is based on the idea of a ‘Linear Orchard’ planted along the route; this pays homage to the work of artist Joseph Beuys and highlights the disappearing orchards of Somerset. Other artists were commissioned to work around this idea.

Artists Liz Turrel & Imi Maufe held a series of workshops with local schools to produce thermoplastic and enamel sign waymarkers. Other works include Stone Column by Jerry Ortmans, which reflects the geological strata of the area and commemorates William Smith who in 1815 drew the first geological map of the UK and who lived nearby. Fussell’s Railings by Jez Pearson commemorates the water force that powered a local sharp tools factory.

The Dings Home Zone (Bristol)

Memoirs of the Dings by Teucer Wilson, Claire Williamson, Beth Trimmer; Date of commission: 2006; Photographer:Teucer Wilson S for Dings by Walter Jack; Date of commission: 2006; Photographer:Jon Bewley

Part of a wider European project called Vivaldi, the Dings Home Zone project was developed with local residents, in partnership with Sustrans, Community at Heart and the City Council. The aim was to redesign streets to allow better balance of road space use for pedestrians and create a high quality urban area. The inclusion of public art to enhance aesthetics and ownership through community involvement was key.

Reckless Orchard Landscape Architecture and the artist Walter Jack were appointed to research and consult with local people. Walter Jack made distinctive Dings gateways and seats.Additional text artists Claire Williamson and Beth Trimmer collected local anecdotes and historical events, which were translated into stone and metal plaques set into the surface of the street by Teucer Williams.

Clay Trails, Cornwall

Pagoda Trails Shelter by Jill Abey and Jackie Smallcombe; Date of Commission: 2005; Photographer: Lindley Owen William Cookworthy Bridge; Date of Commission: 2005; Photographer; Joakim Borén / Architects Review Granite Waymarker; Date of Commission: 2005; Photographer:Lindley Owen

The Clay Trails are formed by three routes running from Bugle, Wheal Martyn and Par Beach to the Eden project.A large part of the trail climbs high in exposed terrain and for this reason many works along the route also form shelters for visitors.These have been built from green wood, cob and local granite, some with grass roofs.

Also installed are a series of massive granite direction signs, hand-carved by a local mason. In addition, a new award winning pre-weathered 'Corton' steel bridge by William Cookworthy has been built near Wheal Martyn. On one side, it is approached between a double row of massive granite blocks. At the other, it exits into an industrial archaeological relic - a circular clay settling tank.

Tarka Trail, North Devon

Wave Shelter by Geoff Stainthorpe; Date of Commission: 2000; Photographer: John Grimshaw Tarka Trail Seat by Paul Anderson; Date of Commission: 2000; Photographer: Lisa Harty Bird Trio; Date of Commission: 2000; Photographer: Lisa Harty

The Tarka Trail is part of the NCN Route 3, the West Country Way. It comprises 35 miles of off road cycling and walking in between Barnstaple and Okehampton on the disused railway line. Delivered by Sustrans, in collaboration with Northern Devon Coast and Countryside Service, this project features around 30 functional artworks including benches, waymarkers and shelters by local artists Geoff Stainthorpe, Ben May, John Butler, Paul Anderson, xheight design, The Organics Lab and Sustrans' lead artist, Katy Hallett.

All the artworks have been made with locally sourced materials and the development and design of benches for the route included community involvement from three local schools.


Park and Rest by Robert Kilvington; Date of Commission: 1999; Photographer: Robert Kilvington Wiggly Wall by Eve Body; Date of Commission: 1999; Photographer: Sustrans

Between Barnstaple and Bampton on the West Country Way, theGreater Exmoor Benchmarks project was to create a series of benches made fromlocally sourced timber to reflect the unique landscape of Exmoor. This includedcommissions for local craftspeople, Keith Rand, Eve Body and Robert Kilvington.

The sites were carefully chosen to create discreet resting places to fit withthe surroundings, oriented towards a particular view, and away from prevailingwinds.In addition, three five-day courses were held by Henry and John Russell,and Scott Cameron in woodland near Dulverton to teach local people traditionalhand construction methods of working timber and participate in creating aseries of green oak benches for the route.

For further information email: [email protected]

© Public Art South West, February 2007