Discarded apple cores inspire cycle network signs

Issue date: 03 November 2005

Art and the Travelling Landscape
National Cycle Route 24 Bath- Radstock –Frome

Travellers discarding apple cores from train windows have provided the inspiration for a series of signs that will decorate part of the national cycle network designed and created by enamelling experts Elizabeth Turrell, Imi Maufe and Ed Silverton at the University of the West of England.

UWE is working with Sustrans to create a ‘linear orchard’ to enhance the national network of cycle paths, much of which runs along old railway tracks. Part of the wider ‘Art and the travelling landscape’ project organised by Sustrans, the signs depict names of ancient apple varieties. Etched and enamelled onto weathered copper plate, the signs will be embedded into granite boulders to mark out trails.

The orchard idea stems from when train travellers used to throw their apple cores out of the window resulting in a plethora of unusual orchards seeding along railway embankments.

Unusual varieties of apple have been immortalised in the series of beautiful enamelled signs and include apples rarely heard of now like ‘Ellison’s Orange’, ‘Autumn Pearman’, ‘Michelmas Red’ and ‘Chivers Delight’. It is also apt that the signs are used to decorate a section of the path running through Somerset which is famous for cider apples.

Elizabeth Turrell describes the signs, she said, “The signs resemble the enamelled signage found in railway waiting rooms and stations. The signs are etched onto copper plate and enamelled using a process that gives a weathered appearance to the edges of the signs creating a textural contrast to the boulders. It was important that we created robust signs capable of withstanding extreme weather conditions and potential vandalism.”

UWE artists have also worked with school children to design bike templates that have been embedded into the path. The designs are an interesting take on the standard signs used to mark out bike lanes on main roads. The Sustrans designs are drawn by children presenting a fun alternative to the standard signs which have then been cut out using thermoplastic material called ‘Premark’ and embedded into the ground.

Katy Hallet, Sustrans’ Director of Art & the Travelling Landscape said, “We are delighted with this project. The linear orchard and succession of signs provides continual interest along the route and are perfectly in keeping with our aims to create landmarks, celebrate local characteristics, bring local communities together and make for enjoyable, memorable journeys.”


Editor’s notes

Sustrans’ vision is a world in which people choose to travel in ways that benefit their health and the environment. Sustrans is the charity behind practical and innovative solutions to some of the UK’s biggest transport challenges, including the award-winning National Cycle Network, Safe Routes to Schools, Bike It and TravelSmart.

To find out more visit http://www.sustrans.org.uk
Sustrans, National Cycle Network Centre
2 Cathedral Square, Bristol, UK. BS1 5DD
Registered Charity No: 326550

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