Shropshire’s “lake district” is situated to the south of the North Shropshire town of Ellesmere, where several meres cluster together. We have known about the sculpture trail around the largest of the meres for a time but have only recently visited and explored the trail. We took advantage of the visit of my brother Graham and his wife Vicky, who love the same sorts of days out as we do, to go to find the trail.
It was worth the wait. We wandered slowly around the lakeside finding a wide variety of sculptural pieces. Once we had parked the car and had our usual coffee and cakes, we found a few pieces in a sloping field opposite. As we entered the park alongside the lake we were treated to views of the church through the trees.
The theme of the sculpture collection was the history and life of the market town of Ellesmere. The first large piece, large enough to explore inside in fact, was based on the barges that would have plied their trade on the nearby canal. The sculpture was created from steel with cut out features in places which gave light a chance to penetrate and play with shadows.
The lakeside parkland held collections of mature trees which cast long shadows across any open patches of grass. We periodically enjoyed glances of the wide expanses of the mere. As we followed the gravel pathway further around the lake we discovered varied sculptural pieces.
We failed to fully work out the meaning and context of the first piece we discovered on the lakeside, which resembled a relief decorated shield wrapped around a pole. We studied it for a while and discussed several possible ideas but eventually walked off still baffled!
This huge metal bee towered over us and beneath him was a stack of logs acting as its plinth. Each piece of wood was drilled with holes making each one a home for solitary bees.
Large morrainic boulders were positioned close to the lakeside and on closer inspection we discovered they were homes to a small groups of bronze pieces, mostly connected to the nunnery close to the mere and other town features.
Moving further into natural woodland and away from the parkland, we discovered a tree-house carved from a dead tree trunk and a beautiful tall, graceful shiny metal piece. pierced with a wide hole giving views over the sparkling water.
Our favourite piece of all was the furthest along the walk but well worth the wait. It was called SShhh and was simply this word carved out of a single piece of wood which stood a good 6 ft tall. It was beautifully positioned in a clearing where the ground was covered in fallen autumn leaves. It looked most impressive sat beneath tall Beech trees and their long sharp shadows! It was beautiful to touch and the light fell on its cracked surfaces creating sharp shadow-lines and increased the intensity of its textures. Enjoy following the photo sequence below taken as we walked closer and closer to SShhh.
Alongside SShhh we found long trunks of old fallen trees to sit and rest upon. A seat had been carved out of one leaving a perfect resting place. We enjoyed studying the fallen leaves, with varied colours and textures. After a short rest we made our way back to the town where further pieces of sculpture awaited discovery. Unfortunately when we got back the light was going so we decided to continue our exploration of the sculpture trail at a later date.