Bugs on bikes, giant metallic dragonflies lurking in the bushes are just some of the stunning sculptures waiting to be spotted along the Saltram and Plym Valley Heritage Trail.
The final stage of the first phase of the Saltram and Plym Valley Heritage Trail is now complete, with six sculptural benches now in place. The national cycling charity Sustrans worked with the project and their volunteers helped design and install benches.
Area manager Paul Hawkins said: “These sculptures add yet more interest to what is already a fascinating section of National Cycle Network. More and more people are enjoying this great route, which is not only part of the Sustran’s National Cycling Route 27 and is the Devon section of the Velodyssey – the Atlantic cycling route that covers 1400 kilometres down the French coast to Spain.”
The new benches, along with a series of eye-catching waymakers, are part of a project to restore and improve links between the city and the stunning valley. The project is being coordinated by the Council in partnership with South Hams Council, the National Trust, the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission, Devon Wildlife Trust and Natural England.
Many of the features are on National Trust land at Saltram and in the Plym Valley to help connect the two National Trust properties for the benefit of Plymouth people.
Artists Gary and Thomas Thrussell were commissioned to work alongside National Trust and Sustrans volunteers at Plym Bridge Woods and Saltram, Woodford School and youth groups in Efford to develop the designs and finish the benches on site.
There are now 16 pieces of sculpture connecting Saltram House with Efford, Plym Bridge Woods and Plympton.
They feature designs to reflect the location and history – such as railway engines, industrial or farming symbols and buildings – along the route and references to nature and famous local families.
Councillor Brian Vincent, Cabinet member for the Environment, said: “There is now so much to see and admire along this trail – come on down and take a look! This trail is all about getting Plymouth folk out and about and enjoying the area’s rich history and environment.”
Four sculptures are located along the trail and are made of galvanized steel and measure up to 1.5m in length.
• Fresh Salt – underneath the A38 fly-over at Marsh Mills and shows a fish on top of a waterwheel. The names of pupils from Boringdon School who worked on the design are written into the paddles.
• Giant Dragonfly – in Plym Valley Woods. From Marsh Mills to Plym Bridge the sculpture 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 – near 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. The design is based on an Oil Beetle.
• Peregrine Falcon – in the Plym Valley near 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. The design was developed by the Plym Valley Peregrine Group.