Plym Valley and Saltram Countryside Park Heritage Trail
Driven by the vision of a new Heritage Walking and Cycling Trail connecting Saltram Countryside Park to the Plym Valley (via the Marsh Mills area), four metal sculptures and seven waymarker signposts were installed along the route linking these areas. The work was undertaken in 2013/14. The Heritage Trail raises awareness of and adds interest to the new and improved route.
The impressive sculptures and waymarkers are the work of Gary Thrussell and his son Thomas, 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.
This project is part of the wider Plymouth Natural Networks programme that aims to deliver new green infrastructure throughout the city. The network will develop 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.
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.
Seven 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.
Saltram House waymarker
The Saltram House waymarker is located to the north of the main house on the Saltram Estate. It was designed with National Trust Volunteers.
Saltram Riverside waymarker
The Saltram Riverside waymarker is located on the cycle path adjacent to the A38 flyover. It was designed with Year 9 pupils from Hele’s School.
A waymarker is located under the A38, near to the ‘Fresh Salt’ sculpture. It was designed with National Trust Volunteers.
The Efford waymarker is located near the entrance to Efford Marsh Local Nature Reserve, near the junction of Pike Road and Military Road. It was designed with Efford community youth group.
Speedway Marsh Mills waymarker
The Speedway Marsh Mills waymarker, designed with Plympton Civic Society Group.
The Coypool waymarker is located on Coypool Road near to the Plym Valley Railway. It was designed with Plym Valley Railway Trust and it features a steam train.
Plym Bridge waymarker
The Plym Bridge waymarker is located in the Plym Bridge car park and features the soaring peregrines and the Cann Viaduct for which the area is renowned. It was designed with Year 9 students at Torbridge High School.
Six benches were 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.