Waves sculpture set for Fisherman’s Gap

Seaton Jurassic information points given the go ahead

Development Management Committee (31 March) has given consent for the erection of two sculptured waves and interpretive pillars at Fisherman’s Gap that will form one of a series of local meeting and information points to promote and inform the public about Seaton Jurassic

The other information points will be at Axmouth Harbour, on the Wetlands and at Seaton Hole. Their purpose is to extend the reach of the centre into the town and along the Jurassic Coast and are key to reaping the benefits of Seaton Jurassic by increasing footfall in the town, on the coast and in the Axe Estuary.

Each information point will include a distinctive feature combined with the same core interpretation pillar, to ensure visitors know they have arrived at a Seaton Jurassic information point.  It is intended that the ‘Waves’ will become a key meeting point within Seaton for people, local and visitors, to gather and enjoy the spectacular views, start walks and learn more about the Jurassic Coast.

Harry Barton, chief executive of Devon Wildlife Trust who will manage the centre, said:

Seaton nestles in the middle of one of the World’s most amazing places for natural history.  And it’s not just the geology and the wildlife that are so special.  The town is steeped in a fascinating human story going back millennia.  We want people to feel a real connection with this extraordinary sense of place, both past and present.  I believe the best way to do this is to get out into the coast and countryside, feel the sea breeze on your face and hold the cold, sharp rocks in your hand.  This is exactly what the information points are there to encourage people to do.

On either side of the entrance to Fisherman’s Gap the outline of two waves made from stainless steel will be bent from 200mm sheet steel and then welded to form 3m height waves using 200mm long tubes of steel to form bubbles in the rest of the wave and pebbles in the base.

The words “waves shape the shore” and “shore shapes the waves” surround the edge of the waves. One would be read on approach from the shore and the other from the town approaching the sea.  The letters are 200mm in height and laser cut from stainless steel and welded to the wave sculptures. The overall height from ground level would be 3.8m.

Two interpretive pillars will be set at the outer ends of each wave.  Constructed from timber the pillars would appear as three separate slabs set at an angle representing the rock strata from Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous periods.

Each pillar contains a graphic, a brass rubbing, a trail map dispenser, a QR code and a hidden geo cache reference.  The geo cache box will be designed as a section of ammonite with a handle to rotate it on a spindle to open measuring a maximum of 1.86m in height.

The Environment Agency has no objection to the structure although a formal Flood Defence consent will be required before any work commences.  Following an earlier meeting of the Development Management Committee, EDDC officers have discussed the design of the Waves with Seaton Town Council’s consultant working on the overall seafront enhancement proposals. 

In addition, a consultation was held on Saturday 28 February during the artisan market in the town. Visitors were asked for their views on the proposed waves sculpture with 82 per cent of those asked (more than 200) liking the design. Those responding consisted of 65 per cent from EX12 postcode (Seaton) with all age ranges represented.  Of 23 respondents over 70 years, 17 liked the waves.  All 13 respondents under 17 liked them. 

Comments included “it enhances the views and doesn’t obscure anything’, ‘unusual, contemporary and fun-looking’, and ‘love the idea of framing the seafront with a beautiful feature’.  The construction of Seaton Jurassic is underway with the first hub containing the shop, cafe and welcome area scheduled to open in July this year. The interpretation areas, inside and out, will open early in 2016.

Seaton Jurassic has secured more than £4million of funding with contributions from East Devon District Council, Devon County Council, Seaton Town Council, Devon Wildlife Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund, Coastal Communities Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and Fine Family Foundation.

Planning consent for the project was given in June 2013.  Devon Wildlife Trust is going to manage the centre.  Seaton Jurassic has benefited from tremendous support locally with the Seaton Visitor Centre Trust and the Jurassic Coast World Heritage team campaigning for many years.