Sculptor will create gateway at woods

Sculptor Tom Maley.
Sculptor Tom Maley.

A FITNESS trail in a woods has proved so popular that council officials are already planning on expanding it.

East Bedlington Parish Council is continuing to develop the Free Wood at Furnace Bridge in the town with the installation of a gateway feature.

An outdoor fitness trail installed last year has proved popular with both residents and visitors, and further developments now planned include an upgrade of the Sounding Out Bedlington trail, installation of interpretation panels and additional seating.

The improvements are being paid for by a grant from the Sita Trust.

The next phase of development will be the installation of a gateway feature called Glo-bed Rail, a sculpture designed and fabricated by sculptor Tom Maley, of Morpeth.

Tom, whose previous work includes the Robin of Pegswood sculpture and one of former England football manager Sir Bobby Robson, has been commissioned to create a piece of artwork reflecting the worldwide significance of the malleable rail track made at Bedlington Ironworks.

Alyson Wallace, heritage, culture and leisure champion at Northumberland County Council, said: “This feature is especially important as it pays tribute to the rich industrial heritage of our area.

“Many residents are unaware that the first train to leave King’s Cross was pulled by a locomotive built on this very site.”

The sculpture has been funded by donations from county councillors Val Tyler, of Bedlington East, and Jeff Gobin, of Sleekburn.

“We hope to develop this heritage trail further,” said Ms Wallace.

“Work will start now to raise funds to install additional features including a sculpture commemorating the journey of coal to the Port of Blyth.”