Residents asked to help with designs for art on path

Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr Ken Ellcome with Jean and Allan Thompson. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

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PEOPLE have been asked for their ideas for the design of sculptures which will go along a countryside path that finishes in Portsmouth.

Artist Richard Perry, who has been commissioned to help create artwork along Shipwrights Way, held a public meeting at Eastney Community Centre so people could come up with ideas.

The 60-mile pathway runs from Alice Holt Forest, near Farnham, through Queen Elizabeth Country Park, in Petersfield, The South Downs and along Portsmouth seafront before finishing at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Some people suggested there should be a sculpture at the seafront depicting birds and plants.

Others said it should recognise The Cockleshell Heroes who trained there during the Second World War.

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

Members of the Royal Naval Shipwrights and Artisans Association also said a sculpture reflecting the tools used by the shipwrights should be set up at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Councillor Terry Hall, who represents Eastney, said: ‘I was very impressed by the quality of the artist’s work.

‘I think the two sculptures planned for Portsmouth will be a great addition to the city and will highlight important aspects of our history and heritage.’

The project began in 2009 when The Forestry Commission decided it wanted to connect the two largest recreational sites in Hampshire – Alice Holt Forest and Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

The commission wanted people to enjoy the countryside and help nearby businesses thrive.

Currently only the first half of the path is open for walkers to use.

It was named to reflect the journey that oak from Alice Holt Forest took to the dockyards so it could be made into ships during the medieval period.

Cath Hart, project officer for Shipwrights Way, said: ‘Portsmouth City Council has been excellent to work with in consulting on and deciding where the route would go in Portsmouth and commissioning works to improve it.’