Inspiring views artworks celebrate Surrey Hills' beauty spots
PUBLISHED: 16:32 15 December 2016 | UPDATED: 16:32 15 December 2016
© John MIller
Capturing the spirit of five outstanding views across the Surrey Hills, each in the form of a seated sculpture, was the challenge set to five leading artists by Surrey Hills Arts. With the results of the Inspiring Views project now in place, here we pay a visit to each site to find out what’s in store
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine November 2016
You can download a map of the Inspiring Views locations here
Perspectives by Giles Miller
Found at the top of Winterfold Hill in The Hurtwood, this striking sculpture has already been causing quite a stir among mountain bikers taking a break from the trails.
Created by Giles Miller and his team, the pod-like shelter looks out across the South Downs, and cocoons you from the elements with clever wooden shingles.
“This is a beautifully secretive part of the world, and I wanted to capture that,” says Giles. “I hope that its visitors will live with and love this new installation for years to come.”
Engraved on its exterior, are messages from the local community, with inspiration drawn from commemorative messages often left for loved ones in areas of natural beauty.
Where? At the viewpoint by car park 5 of The Hurtwood, Greensand Lane GU5 9EN.
Xylem by Walter Bailey
The man responsible for the iconic oak boundary markers of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, sculptor Walter Bailey has brought his distinctive style to the Inspiring Views project too. For his Xylem bench, he found inspiration in the area’s history of charcoal production.
“I was fascinated to discover that, historically, this tranquil landscape harboured a hive of industries, all reliant on the production of charcoal over many centuries,” says Walter. “It has been a joy to return to the Surrey Hills to explore and be inspired by them once again.”
With its pattern based on photomicrographs of charcoal, this striking bench was also carved from a locally-sourced piece of oak.
Where? The bench sits at a new accessible viewpoint at the National Trust’s Gibbet Hill at Hindhead. For parking, head to the National Trust car park at Dysons Grove GU26 6AB.
Contour by Russell Jakubowski
The geology of the Greensand Way helped to shape artist Russell Jakubowski’s piece, Contour, which is made from recycled plastic. The material was layered up, piece by piece, to reflect how the area’s rock would once have looked beneath the waves.
“This commission has been full of interesting people and new challenges,” says Russell. “Engaging with the local community has been really inspiring.”
Where? From car park 4 of The Hurtwood, on the corner of Greensand Lane and Barhatch Road GU6 7NL, walk up the Greensand Way to the viewpoint.
Grains by Tom Nicholson-Smith
If you hadn’t been aware of the project already, Grains is the one installation you might have presumed had always been there. An informal seating arrangement made up of various curved oak forms, representing giant grains of sand, the piece is found just up a footpath near The White Horse pub in Hascombe.
“As a local artist, I feel very lucky to enjoy views from the Surrey Hills regularly,” says Tom. “A view of southern England without evidence of human structures is rare, but with this site at Hascombe Hill I found one.”
Inspired by the very Greensand it stretches out on, Grains already feels at home – and offers a slightly more unorthodox respite to the walkers who come across the piece.
Where? Parking opposite The White Horse pub, The Street, Hascombe GU8 4JA, take Nore Lane until the start of the footpath on the right beside the garage. Follow to the top of the hill, bearing left.
Converse by Matthew Burt
A place to sit down and have a chat, the three facing benches of Converse were created by furniture designer Matthew Burt and look out over The Hurtwood from Holmbury Hill.
Made of sweet chestnut, a tree that can be seen framing the right of the viewpoint, the cambered shape of the bench is designed to allow rain to glide off the surface.
“The first glimpse of the view from Holmbury Hill is a heart-stopping , glad-to-be-alive-in-England moment,” says Matthew. “It demands savouring, mulling over, contemplating and discussion, and hopefully this seating facilitates that.”
Also designed to allow wheelchair access, this is a spot for everyone to enjoy together.
Where? From car park 1 of The Hurtwood, Radnor Road RH5 6NU, take the path with the pond on the left.
NEED TO KNOW
Commissioned by Surrey Hills Arts and funded by the Mittal Foundation, all five artworks can be found along The Greensand Way, a long-distance walking path from Hindhead to Kent through the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. For more information, visit inspiringviews.org.