New sculptures planned for Hampshire path

ARTWORK Interlocking Oaks by Richard Perry at the Boots headquarters in Nottingham. Mr Perry has been commissioned to create 20 sculptures along the Shipwrights Way
ARTWORK Interlocking Oaks by Richard Perry at the Boots headquarters in Nottingham. Mr Perry has been commissioned to create 20 sculptures along the Shipwrights Way

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CYCLISTS and walkers will have plenty to look at soon when they explore Hampshire’s countryside.

Twenty intricately-carved sculptures will be placed along the Shipwrights Way – a 55-mile path that opened last year.

Sculptor Richard Perry

Sculptor Richard Perry

Artist Richard Perry has been commissioned to work with local communities along the path to create the £50,000 sculpture trail.

The route starts in Alice Holt forest, a dense woodland that was used to provide timber for Portsmouth’s shipbuilding industry centuries ago.

Travelling through East Hampshire and Queen Elizabeth Country Park, the path takes in Rowlands Castle, Havant, Hayling Island, and via the ferry to Portsmouth, it finishes at the Historic Dockyard.

The sculptures hope to tell the stories of the history, wildlife and hopes of people living along the route.

Mr Perry, 52, from Nottinghamshire, said: ‘From tales of medieval shipbuilders to Roman potters, local wildlife and their aspirations for the future, I want to make sure that the things that the people living along the Shipwrights Way think are important about their communities are reflected in my finished work.’

The intention is to make the carvings from Portland stone, although the one at Alice Holt forest will be wood.

Each sculpture will take about a week to make.

Cath Hart, Shipwrights Way project officer, said: ‘We were impressed with Richard’s experience in creating inspiring works of art for both towns and country and involving communities in the process.

‘His lovely organic shapes, often carved with animals, trees and plants, will be a wonderful addition to the Shipwrights Way.’

The trail is being paid for by a £25,500 grant from East Hampshire District Council, £20,000 from the South Downs National Park Authority and £4,500 from Hampshire County Council.

Workshops will be taking place later in the autumn at dates and venues to be decided.

To get involved email shipwrightswaymarkers@gmail.com.