A new fundraising campaign has been launched to restore a lost viewpoint on the North Downs Way National Trail. Just a short walk from Newlands Corner the trees and undergrowth have grown up significantly, closing off views across the Weald to the South Downs. Surrey Hills Arts want to re-create and maintain these views, enhance the habitat for insect and butterfly populations to flourish and install a sculptural seat.
Ali Clarke, Surrey Hills Arts Project Co-ordinator comments; “This crowdfunding campaign is an opportunity for everyone to get involved with the project. Donations from as little as £5 will greatly help to make the project a reality and every donation will receive a thank you reward. We’ve got some fantastic rewards available from a year’s membership to the Hannah Peschar Sculpture garden and Arts Society to vineyard tours and tastings at Albury Organic Vineyard and more….”
National Charity Butterfly Conservation will work with a team of volunteers around the new viewpoint to create habitat areas for butterflies to flourish. Work has been taking place across the Surrey Hills to increase the population of the declining Small Blue Butterfly species. By creating lots of suitable patches of habitat, the butterfly should be able to disperse and spread across the North Downs between Guildford and Dorking.
As well as the viewpoint clearance and conservation work a sculptural seat has been commissioned by artist Will Nash. The striking new piece will provide the perfect opportunity to stop and enjoy the view. Will has a fascination for geometry and patterns in nature and wants to create a sculptural seat constructed from weathering steel with a protective layer of rust on its surface. The individual cells will be packed with locally sourced unprocessed timber to create a solid seat. Concealed within the timber will be three spherical kaleidoscopes, each one will be orientated to view a different element of the place, one looking up at the branches against the sky, one capturing the tree foliage and one down towards the earth. The artwork will be called ‘Optohedron’ derived from the ancient Greek: optikós, “of seeing” and hédra “raised seat”.
Artist Will Nash comments; “The Optohedron sculpture is inspired by the act of viewing, thinking about seeing as the fundamental interface between the person and the world. Whilst exploring this idea, I investigated optics, the science of light, which took me to an ancient instrument, the kaleidoscope.”
As well as the planned practical work, a learning programme will engage communities and young people with the therapeutic benefits of art and nature through walks, talks, conservation and creative activities.
None of the work will be able to take place without public support. Discover more about donating and being a part of this exciting project by visiting www.inspiringviews.org