A Giant Chair, Bird Transition - a stone carving depicting local birds in the River Lee, The Shrine and a Viking Ship are just some of the 15 artworks along a new Sculpture Trail just launched by Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.
The new trail, in River Lee Country Park, is a six mile route of 15 hand-crafted sculptures by different artists made from a variety of materials, including stone, wood and metal. The trail celebrates the park’s 1,000 acres of stunning landscape, flora and fauna.
To mark the launch this week, London artist Paula Haughney unveiled her sculpture, Bird Transition, which she carved on site in the River Lee Country Park over eight weeks. She also gave year 4-6 pupils fromFlamstead End Primary School, Cheshunt, a glimpse of how her creation came about and let them get hands on experience of creating with stone in an on the spot art lesson.
Paula, who works from her studio in Bromley-by-Bow, east London, spent long hours on site at Hooks Marsh, carving the sculpture from a single block of natural Portland limestone. The piece, which stands 170 cm high by 103 cm wide, features a series of birds which appear to be in flight.
Paula was one of eight artists who have contributed to the trail, including a group of five from Coney Weston, Suffolk, called Hearts of Oak plus Nigel Kaines of Bury St Edmunds company Designs on Metal, who created the metal work where applicable.
Explaining the story behind her work, Paula said: “I took inspiration from the different birds and wildlife around me, their coming and going. The piece represents the sights and sounds of the park and its link with passing time and regeneration.”
All sculptures on the trail have been hand crafted using a combination of stone, wood or metal, and each tells a story, reflecting the area’s history and industry. For example, Play Boulders represents the sand and gravel extract from the original North Metropolitan Pit, now a fishing lake, The Banded Demoiselle represents the damselfly, common along the River Lee during the summer and Wildlife Benches depicts the Bittern and otter, just some of the wildlife that can be found locally.
Lee Valley Regional Park Authority’s Chief Executive, Shaun Dawson said: “Every year we welcome over one million visitors to River Lee Country Park. The Sculpture Trail adds something extra to an already great day out and can be enjoyed by all ages. Some sculptures have been designed to be played on and others simply to be admired - all however, ignite the imagination and are just waiting to be discovered on this fabulous trail.”
Art teacher Helen Watford from Flamstead End Primary School who runs the school Art Club, said: “The children have had a fabulous time, making their own mini sculptures and learning all about how an expert artist works. I think this Sculpture Trail has really inspired them all to be creative and experimental in their art classes!
Eleven - year old Georgia Leach from Flamstead School added: “It’s been great fun making things today with a famous artist and I hope we can make some more sculptures in our art classes back at school!”
The circular trail offers visitors a quietpathway, ideal for cyclists, walkers, joggers and families.
The Sculpture Trail adds to the experiences, amenities and activities that River Lee Country Park already offers, including its stunning landscape, wildlife, Disc Golf, Dog Agility,Lee Valley White Water Centreand the nearby Lee Valley Park Farms.
For more information about the sculptures go to:www.visitleevalley.org.uk/sculptures
A map of the route can be downloaded from https://www.visitleevalley.org.uk/en/content/cms/help/leaflets/