Local young people have painted a colourful artwork on the Phoenix Bridge along the Sea to Sea (C2C) National Cycle Network route at Cleator Moor, West Cumbria.
The mural evokes the fiery spirit of this former iron ore railway path’s rich industrial and natural heritage. It features a dragon fighting a phoenix, a steam train and red squirrel in a miner’s helmet. The community painting event was part of a joint effort with our local officers, artists of the Colourful North and the Phoenix Youth Project.
All the artwork design ideas came from the young people at Phoenix Youth Project, and include a range of images inspired by local history and wildlife, such as the Seven Sisters, hedgehogs, butterflies, bees, a minehead, and a silhouette of the unknown soldier.
This section of the Sea to Sea is known as the Tracks of the Ironmasters as it was once a railway that linked former iron ore mines at Knockmurton and Kelton to ironworks at Workington, Cleator and Distington.
The route includes a number of historic bridges and remnants of the path’s past, such as a rock crusher and railway signal. It is also a haven for nature as well as people, with rare wildlife such as red squirrels, the small blue butterfly, and bat colonies on some bridges.
We were awarded a grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund to work with the local community to restore the path’s historic and natural heritage and develop a signed trail.
Nikki Wingfield, our Project Officer for Tracks of the Ironmasters said:
“I’m really impressed with the design ideas and hard work of all the young people from the Phoenix Youth Project, working alongside artists of The Colourful North. They have transformed the area, brightening it up, making it a pleasure to walk and cycle through.”
Callum Bagley from Phoenix Youth Project said:
“I really enjoyed working with the artists on decorating the bridge and all with of the other young people from the youth club.
Kayleigh Jardine, also from the Project said:
“The bridge looks amazing, it was so much fun painting it, and there’s something so much better to look at now.”
The 140 mile Sea to Sea route attracts over 15,000 people on foot or by bicycle each year and is part of the National Cycle Network.