Take some ‘Time to Connect' with art at Vicar Water Country Park

Posted on: Tuesday, May 7, 2024

The Time to Connect Arts Trail is officially open at all six sites across Nottinghamshire, including Newark and Sherwood’s very own Vicar Water Country Park!

The Green Flag Award-winning park is now home to one of six stunning works of art that have been created by sculptor Chris Campbell as part of the fantastic new arts trail that celebrates Nottinghamshire’s heritage and landscapes.

Councillor Rowan Cozens, Deputy Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council and Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and the Arts, said: “It is an absolute joy to be part of The Big Draw’s Time to Connect Art Trail, and I am so excited to see the sculptures installed at each of the six heritage sites, including our very own Green Flag Award-winning Vicar Water Country Park.

“The trail is going to be such a wonderful way for people to connect to the environment around us and see how art is all about drawing inspiration from the world around us and letting creativity take over! I hope everyone feels inspired as they enjoy the trail, I know I will!”

The trail has been created to encourage communities and visitors to connect with the nature and heritage in their local surroundings and is a result of Miner2Major and Inspire Nottinghamshire Libraries’ work on The Big Draw 2023, which the District Council collaborated on. The project connected local children and community groups with nature and heritage through drawing, and it was from this extraordinary collection of work that the six new sculptures were born!

Councillor Emma Oldham, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services and Biodiversity at Newark and Sherwood District Council said: “The incredible sculpture at Vicar Water Country Park was inspired by the artwork created by Clipstone Beavers, Cubs and Scouts after they learned all about the nature in the area, so this installation really is a beautiful combination of heritage, art, nature and our local community! How lovely that Vicar Water, home to such a variety of wildlife and biodiversity, is now home to art inspired by those very inhabitants!”

Vicar Water Country Park has been recognised as a Green Flag Award-winning park for a number of years and is located in Clipstone on the site of a former colliery. The 1st Clipstone Beavers, Cubs and Scouts learned all about the biodiversity and wildlife that occupy the thriving green space. Their artwork was inspired by the park’s heathland, woodland and grassland and lake, and the variety of wildlife it is home to, including kingfishers, herons, water scorpions, frogs and newts, emperor dragonflies, green woodpeckers, and more!

The park has transformed over the years and the heathland, woodland and grassland are now one of the district’s designated local nature reserves. A number of projects have been undertaken by the District Council to help maintain, enhance and protect the biodiversity in the area, including the Three Rivers Project, which aimed to improve the health of the surrounding waterways and the creation of a native wildflower walk, with pathways through the meadow that include living willow tunnels, bee posts and planters. The District Council has also planted over 4,000 trees at Vicar Water Country Park to create brand new, mixed broadleaved woodland. This has been named Platinum Jubilee Woods and was planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy, in tribute to Her Majesty.

Anyone who wants to find out more and visit the sculptures can take a look at The Time to Connect Art Trail booklet, in there you’ll find information about the inspiration for each piece, the artists that worked on the project, and a map of the trail with all six locations. Copies are available at all Inspire libraries, Nottingham Tourism Centre, and all six sculpture sites. If you are visiting Vicar Water please head to the Rumbles Café to collect one! You can also download a PDF version here: https://www.inspireculture.org.uk/arts-culture/community/time-to-connect-nottinghamshire/

This work is part of a wider national project working with renowned portrait photographer, Alistair Morrison. Alistair has created Time to Connect, photographing people and places around the UK and Nottinghamshire is the starting point for this journey!

Peter Gaw, Chief Executive Officer of Inspire, said: “It’s been brilliant to work alongside Alistair and so many fantastic artists, community groups and local heritage organisations to bring this project to Nottinghamshire. With huge thanks to our six sculpture venues who worked alongside our Libraries and Culture team and Sculptor Chris to bring this community arts trail to life.

"The Time to Connect trail is a fabulous way for people to connect with arts, heritage and their local nature sites. We hope people will feel inspired by Alistair’s journey and step out to explore the sites and discover art on their doorstep this Summer.

Steve Little, Scheme Manager of Miner2Major, said: “The Time to Connect trail has been one of Miner2Major’s biggest projects to date and as our scheme comes to an end, we’re delighted to be launching this alongside our partners at Inspire. Each stop along the way features a fabulous location and thanks to National Lottery players the trail will encourage people to explore the rich heritage of Sherwood Forest and immerse themselves in the beauty of our natural spaces for years to come.”