Plym Valley and Saltram Countryside Heritage Trail
Driven by the vision of a new Heritage Walking and Cycling Trail, four metal sculptures and seven waymarker signposts made from galvanised steel were installed along the route connecting Saltram Countryside Park to the Plym Valley, via the Marsh Mills area. Each one has different features to reflect its location and history.
Artist: Thrussell and Thrussell
Date: 2013 – 2014
Location: Various along the Plym Valley and Saltram area. Plymouth.
Commissioner: Plymouth City Council
Supporters: Saltram Stakeholders Group, Saltram Estate and Plym Bridge Woods volunteers, Plympton St Maurice Civic Association, Plympton and District Civic Society, Plym Valley Railway Trust, Plymouth Peregrine Group, Leigham primary, Torbridge High and Boringdon Primary School
The project was part of the wider Plymouth Natural Networks programme that aims to deliver new green infrastructure throughout the city. The network develops links between locations such as Dartmoor National Park in the north to Plymouth Sound in the south, via the Plym Valley and the Saltram Estate.
The impressive sculptures and waymarkers are the work of Thrussell and Thrussell; artist metalsmiths who are based on Bodmin Moor. In addition to engaging with the local community on the designs, Thrussell and Thrussell also worked with Plymouth City Council and the Saltram Stakeholders Group (including Sustrans, Plymouth Cycling Campaign, the National Trust and volunteers) on the project.
Four sculptures are located along the trail. They are made of galvanised steel and measure up to 1.5m in length!
‘Fresh Salt’ is located beneath the A38 fly-over at Marsh Mills and shows an impressive fish on top of a waterwheel. The names of all the school pupils that worked on the design are written into the paddles in graffiti style.
‘Giant Dragonfly’ is located in Plym Valley Woods. As you amble from Marsh Mills to Plym Bridge you will find the sculpture hovering above a watercourse, as it has been installed on the bank of the Plym Valley Canal. This piece was designed with 12 students from Leigham Primary School.
Beetle on a Bike
‘Beetle on a Bike’ is located along the Plym Valley near to Plym Bridge Woods Car Park, at Tramway Junction. The sculpture was designed by two Year 12 students from Tor Bridge High School who entered a competition set by the artists Thrussell and Thrussell. The design is based on an Oil Beetle.
‘Peregrine Falcon’ is located along the Plym Valley near to Plym Bridge Woods Car Park. The sculpture can be found on the track heading north-east from the car park, just over the first bridge.
Continue along the track and within a few minutes you will reach Cann Viaduct where you may be lucky enough to see Peregrine Falcons as there has been a pair successfully breeding and nesting in a natural nest site at Cann Quarry owned by the National Trust for over 10 years.
Distinctive waymarker signposts have been installed along the route. The waymarkers are made of galvanised steel, inset with fused glass. Each one has different features to reflect its location and history. The fused glass for the waymarkers was made by Roberta Ayles.
The waymarkers were designed in conjunction with local schools including Leigham primary, Torbridge High and Boringdon Primary; and community groups including volunteers at Saltram Estate and Plym Bridge Woods, young people in Efford, Plympton St Maurice Civic Association and Plympton and District Civic Society, the Plym Valley Railway Trust and the Plym Peregrine Group.
Six benches were also installed as part of the Plym Valley Heritage Project in 2014. Each bench is based upon a different Plym Valley tree and they are sited between Saltram and Plym Bridge Woods.
About the Artist
Thrussell & Thrussell create bespoke public artwork through commissions, aiming to give a sense of ownership to the community where the artwork is situated. Through a long heritage of engineers and metal workers, this father and son collaboration decided to take their family skills to a new, creative level. Inspired by nature and cultural heritage their work can be found nationwide in public spaces, museums and stately homes.