Sea Swallow story book
Honeycomb Worm Reefs - round about where you might find wood from the petrified forest at Cleveleys
Wood from the petrified forest.
Photo from Andy Ball
Find the Ogre in the Groyne at Cleveleys
The sea defences at Cleveleys were rebuilt to protect the coastline from flooding and, the fabulous new, award winning promenade increased the popularity of this much loved seaside town and attracted people from near and far to come and enjoy the spectacular views and much better access to the beach.
The 'Cleveleys Mythological Coastline' project secured grant funding through Sea Change, a national fund designed to regenerate the coast through the Arts, much of which has involved the area around the Marine Hall and gardens at Fleetwood.
In Cleveleys, the project created a legacy to follow the sea defence works, and a story which is Cleveleys very own for the future.
The Sea Swallow is the story, written for children but with a charm that’s unmissable, and tells a fairy tale that blends legend with local features, including sunken villages and the petrified forest which you can still see on the beach today.
In 2011, each primary school child in Wyre was given a copy of the book, and in arly 2012 the first two pieces of sculpture were installed.
The namesake ‘Sea Swallow’ sculpture is a huge, slim white piece, which stands guard over the promenade and main high street, that you can see right from the end of Victoria Road West as you approach the town. The Sea Swallows are cut into the top, flying over the beach and soaring above in all weathers.
Against the boundary of Blackpool stands the Shipwreck Memorial, which remembers all the vessels which came aground on the Fylde coast, back to the mists of time.
Outside the cinema and ice rink you'll find the Ogre's Paddle, it's a huge thing which stands on the upper promenade, facing the sea, inscribed with words from the book.
On the beach slightly to the right of the paddle and just before the cafe, sits the Ogre himself. You'll have to look closely for him - a long time of being covered by the sea twice a day has given him a green coat which helps him to blend into the rocks. But he's got a very kind face... head down onto the sands at low tide and say hello to our big green friend.
When the tide is out, or even when it's in, you'll not fail to spot Mary's Shell on the beach.
At low tide it's as clear as a bell, sat huge and unmissable on the sand near to the round seafront cafe building. When the tide's in you'll just see the top of the steelwork... poking up through the waves.
Walk down onto the sand at low tide and climb inside the shell, peer through the end of it towards the sea, and of course take lots of photos. Everyone else does!
Mary's Golden Shell, the Stone Ogre and Paddle were delivered and installed to the beach in 2013.
A sneak peek at the Paddle which will arrive soon on Cleveleys promenade...
When the beach nourishment works were carried out in the summer of 2013, concrete foundations were cast in the beach for the Shell and the Ogre.
Finally, the Paddle was put in place on the promenade. The Ogres Paddle is 9.2m long, carved from a tropical hardwood called purple heart timber.
The carved end of the Paddle... ready in the workshop
These drawings are from the planning stage of the Mythic Coast artwork trail, from the period pre-installation.
Perhaps the largest and most exciting piece is Mary’s Golden Shell (above). This is a huge structure at 8m x 4m, sat on the beach near to the cafe at the northern end of the town. Made from stainless steel, parts of the story of the Sea Swallow are etched inside.
You can walk inside it and hear the effect of the wind and waves on the laser cut metal, and when the tide comes in the shell disappears under the water - just as it does in the book.
One of the plans was for a Petrified Forest Interpretation Board. (This wasn't completed). A shadow of a former woodland lies on the beach, submerged by rising tides many histories ago. This was to be a 1.5 x3m piece made from reinforced glass and galvanised steel sections to replace the safety rail on the promenade.
At the very end of Victoria Road West these resin birds were planned to appear, alighting on the top of the sea wall to rest and take in the view. These were the Sea Swallows, 15 coloured resin birds, cast in three different patterns and sited in various places.
Some of these birds were installed but met a sticky end and were removed for safe keeping. Find out more here.
Last but not least, is the Stone Ogre himself! Sat among the rock groyne, he appears as the tide goes out, sat in his watery underworld waiting for visitors to come and say hello and find him nestled in the rocks. Carved in limestone or granite, he's not a small chap, at 2.4 x 1.5m in size.
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