Giant sculpture project launched to promote Yorkshire coastline bike and walking routes

Yorkshire Coast Business Improvement District  plans to launch a number of new coastal tourist itineraries which will feature a series of standout newly-commissioned large sculptures as part of the 240 miles of bike, walk and driving routes designed to promote the region and attract more visitors to the whole coastal area.

Artist Emma Stothard with giant crab
Artist Emma Stothard with giant crab

The 240 miles of Yorkshire Coast circular routes feature 100 miles of glorious and contrasting coastline, via different itinerary options which cut through the eastern edges of the North York Moors National Park, from Staithes all the way down to Spurn point mapped out along the way by the standout new steel sculptures landmarks.

The flagship project will be launched to the public officially next year with a new website and brand and is designed to boost tourism by providing multiple reasons to visit the Yorkshire Coast as well as encouraging visitors to stay longer, return and invest more in local shops, restaurants and attractions.

Key to its success will be the development of itineraries which offer visitors a range of interesting scenery, coastal history and architecture, and activities including castles, stately homes, lighthouses, nature reserves, museums and the new Coastal Sculpture Collection.

The experience-based routes will be used to promote levy-paying accommodation providers, restaurants, cafes, pubs, shops and attractions including hidden gems off the beaten track. As part of the planning, the organisation will also develop schemes to promote cleaner and greener travel along the way with emphasis placed on specific walking and cycling routes.

The coast will be enhanced by the Yorkshire Coastal Sculpture Collection, and as part of the Sculpture project the Business Improvement District has teamed up with local Yorkshire artist Emma Stothard to draw and create the key landmark items for the new heritage sculpture trail.

Emma, who exhibits nationally and internationally and has seen her work grace the gardens of stately homes, galleries and private homes around the country, will take inspiration from the coast, its wildlife and the things that make it a wonderful place to live and visit to create incredible sculptures and provide a new exciting reason for people to keep visiting the Yorkshire Coast.

Taking inspiration from the wonderful crab landed in Withernsea, Emma has already created a giant crab sculpture in the town where she grew up, which is the focal point to mark the start of the fish trail throughout the coastal town.

Discussing the upcoming project Emma said: “This is a fantastic project and I’m excited to be working with Yorkshire Coast BID on bringing this to life. I can’t wait to revisit villages and places I grew up and take inspiration from the area I call home.

“Sculpture is growing in popularity in the UK and internationally with people keen to visit, see and Instagram new landmark sites. I really hope people get a lot of enjoyment out of seeing the new figures as part of the routes initiative and I am sure it will prompt interest for people to learn more about the Yorkshire Coast and attract more people to our wonderful area.

“We have such a varied landscape so there is lots of inspiration to draw from as we develop the sculptures for the trail. I have been drawing initial concepts and taking inspiration from the local wildlife, tourism features and produce. For instance, we have the wonderful opportunity to go whale spotting here, so I want to draw from elements of that into one of the sculptures.”

Business Improvement District chairman Clive Rowe-Evans, commented: “It is fantastic to have Emma on board supporting our new Yorkshire Coast Route initiative and the plan for exciting new flagship sculptures. We have many more exciting plans for the route and other projects to promote and protect the Yorkshire Coast, and we will share the new panned initiatives in the coming months as we support the recovery of our coastal economy over the long term.”

Its director James Hodgson said: “A branded Yorkshire Coastal Route is the perfect product for enticing visitors both from the UK and overseas (and especially those from Northern Europe) to come and explore over 100 miles of spectacular scenery while providing them with multiple reasons for staying longer and supporting our local hospitality and tourism industry.

“Our itineraries will take visitors through pretty villages, historic towns and rolling countryside, all with the dramatic backdrop of coastal landscapes – and at the same time, promote all businesses along the route, from visitor attractions to pubs, cafes and guest houses. The Yorkshire Coast has something for everyone – from history and architecture, to wildlife and nature, to sandy beaches and fish and chips.”