Walkers Welcome on Viaduct Way

Press Release: 04/12/2013

Curved bench on Viaduct Way

The curved bench designed by Nicola Henshaw located on the Viaduct Way walk in Winchester.

Following the arrival of the drifting dandelion clocks on the Hockley Viaduct earlier this autumn, there are more new features to enjoy from this week with a particular appeal to walkers.

Already a firm favourite with cyclists, as part of National Cycle Route 23, the pathway linking Winchester city centre and the South Park and Ride has now been given a name with local resonance. A number of directional signs for Viaduct Way have been installed along the length of the route, encouraging more walkers to explore and enjoy it.

In addition, a large circular bench has been created and positioned near Hockley Bridleway Bridge for walkers who are keen to break their journey or admire the surrounding scenery. Two more smaller benches are tucked into the recesses along the Viaduct itself, and carry the words written by a Year 6 pupil from Compton All Saints Primary School which inspired the painted dandelions.

The signs and benches have all been designed and created from oak and forged steel by Hampshire artist Nicola Henshaw who was chosen through a competitive bidding process earlier this year. The images and ideas featured were all inspired by a programme of workshops with local people in July. Children from Compton All Saints and Highcliffe All Saints Primary Schools played a key role in the process, and the carvings are based directly on a collection of shadow puppets made by the children to tell the history of the Viaduct.

Cllr Vicki Weston, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transport, commented:

These are beautiful pieces, and Nicola’s workmanship is excellent. She has succeeded in bringing together Winchester past and present in her pieces, and they will add real character to Viaduct Way as walkers stroll its length.

Nicola Henshaw added:

The 102 dandelions that I painted on the track bed a few weeks ago have already prompted a great deal of positive comment, and I hope that these latest features will add further enjoyment for users of Viaduct Way. The next stage will be to install five three-dimensional way markers along the route in February, each of which will again be based on the shadow puppet images. Once the whole scheme is complete, I am sure that walkers will spend time working out the various images and thinking about the way that the Viaduct connects them all together.

The final stage of the signage and interpretation project will see the creation of three information panels on and around the Viaduct which will reflect the key themes behind Nicola’s work – railway/viaduct history; the City of Winchester; cycling; flora and fauna, and the Itchen Navigation. This will arrive in the early spring.

The signage and interpretation project has been managed by Winchester City Council, with the financial support of Hampshire County Council, the Environment Agency and the Friends of Hockley Viaduct.