First aerial shots show shape of things to come for Northumberlandia

December 22, 2010 | Community News

The first overhead images of what will eventually be the world’s largest sculpted human form have been released to show how the project is progressing. The Northumberlandia landform is being built on land to the west of Cramlington – and after eight months’ development work, the shape of the 400m long figure can clearly be seen emerging from the surrounding countryside.

Northumberlandia is being formed from around 1.5 million tonnes of soil and clay taken from the nearby Shotton surface mine, which is being operated by regional developer The Banks Group, and will rise 34m from the ground at its highest point.

Banks and the Blagdon Estate are investing around £2.5m in the creation of Northumberlandia, which will form the centrepiece of a 29 hectare public park being built on land which will be  managed by The Land Trust as an amenity for the local community and an attraction for visitors to the region.

It is being built using bulldozers and excavators, with the work being undertaken by local employees from the Shotton site.

The landform is currently around 18m above the ground, with landscaping, infrastructure, ‘greening’ and other development work scheduled to continue for the next 18 months.

When the park opens to the public in 2013, it will contain more than 4km of surfaced paths and over 2.5km of grass paths.  Northumberlandia alone will be more than seven times the size of the pitch at St James’ Park, will be taller than an eight-storey building at its highest point and will take more than 20 minutes to walk around.

The artist behind the scheme, Charles Jencks, paid a visit to the site in October to discuss the next stages in the project’s development and to see how his design is being realised.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at the Banks Group, adds: “To be able to  clearly see the figure emerging from the ground is an exciting landmark for everyone involved with the project, and shows the fantastic progress we’ve made within a short space of time.

“The Northumberlandia scheme was designed to provide a lasting legacy for the area, alongside the significant employment and economic contributions that we make through our Shotton surface mine operations. The fact that the figure is being created by a team of local people who will be able to tell future generations about the roles they played in its creation adds even more to the project.”

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