The Green Man

Along the path that links Coxside and Cattedown, a small carved figurehead looks out over the Cattewater. The head is of the ‘Green Man’ who is said to represent the life giving force of spring and regeneration. The port holes underneath the gaslight give great views over the cattewater.

Photograph of breakwater hill where the green man statue is situated.Category: Permanent
Date: 1999
Location: View on our Public Art Map [desktop and tablet; requires Google sign-in]
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Plymouth City Council



Project Description

Photograph of the green man statue atop and old gaslight.

The term ‘Green Man’ doesn’t date back as far as often presumed. It was actually made mainstream by Lady Raglan in her article ‘The Green Man in Church Architecture’ that was published in 1939 in ‘Folklore’ magazine. Before this these figureheads seemed of little interest to people and were simply referred to as ‘Foliate Heads’. The origins of the Green Man are widely debated through pagan symbolism, Christianity and ancient mythology. However, interpretations that surround ideas of the regenerative power of Spring, humanities deep relationship with nature and cycles of life and death remain widely accepted and popular.

The sculpture is situated on Breakwater Hill which gained its name due to the site being heavily quarried to provide stone for the Breakwater in Plymouth sound.