As part of the V3 Involve Visit Volunteer, Heritage Lottery Funded Project at Yeovil Country Park, a fantastic mural has been painted on a concrete covered stretch of wall alongside the current cycleway which follows the original route of the former railway line, adjacent to the site of the old Hendford Halt Station (where B&M now stands).
The mural depicts the heritage and wildlife of Yeovil Country Park. Huge train wheels loom out of a cloud of steam and a Wallace Aircraft, manufactured by Westlands, soars overhead. A kingfisher dives down towards an otter sheltering near a cluster of yellow flag iris, whilst bumblebees and butterflies float around foxgloves and bluebells. A giant ladybird and beetle crawl up the wall and a bat swoops down from above. A pair of breeding swans are depicted with their cygnets. All are watched over by a green woodpecker, the emblem for Yeovil Country Park.
The mural has been painted by Bristol artist Jody Thomas who said, “As community art projects go, this has been without doubt the most engaging and fulfilling I have ever been involved in. From the moment I started the wall passers-by of all ages - from the very young to the very old - have stopped by to ask questions, made interesting suggestions and comment on how this rather dull looking wall needed brightening up. I would say a good part of my days working at the park I spent speaking to all manner of people who stopped by, even people running and on bikes would shout their approval as they passed by! The wall has obviously had a big impact on the local community which as an artist has made for a wonderful experience from start to finish.”
Becky Russell, Community Ranger added, “The mural looks amazing and if I had to choose a favourite part, it would be the otter. Several people have asked if we have otters at Yeovil Country Park, and we do have these magnificent animals throughout the park; from the River Yeo at Riverside Walk and Wyndham Hill, through to Dodham Brook and the lake at Ninesprings. I think it’s also important to represent the heritage of the park and the massive wheels of the steam train bring to life the history of this now popular recreational route, the former railway line.”
Councillor Sylvia Seal, Portfolio Holder for Countryside at South Somerset District Council added, “I’m really pleased with how the mural has turned out and we must thank Jody for coming to Yeovil Country Park and showcasing his talent. It was great to hear that people passing by were intrigued about the work and we hope that the intrigue turns into people coming to visit the site learning more about the wildlife and enjoying the changing seasons in the coming months.”
Pop along to Ninesprings to see the mural for yourself. It’s only a short walk from the Ninesprings Café along the former railway cutting towards Lysander Road.
Yeovil Country Park Rangers would also like the public to be aware that during the week of 18th September there will be some disruption along the cycleway throughout Ninesprings whilst contractors are on site making repairs to the tarmac surface of the cycleway. Please be patient and respect the barriers and minor diversions which will be put in place.