Old Town to West Swindon cycle path

Wheel sculptures Old Town Cycle path. There are five wheels, from the Old Town direction towards the railway and Wootton Bassett Road they are Earth, Air, Fire, Water and Conceive.

Each wheel has two parts, a small wheel showing the Element, and a large wheel with a short piece of poetry. In addition, there is a length of wood crossing the path between each of the wheel pairs. Each of these lengths of wood has two words written on them.

AIR: On hot places behind your knees On high downs a ghost is growing. Depth & disquiet.

EARTH: Our wheels relinquish and seize, relinquish and seize….Curious tenderness..second word obscured

Fire: Pistons swell and shine, days are like face, Steam pumps the sky, this one this…Extinguished – the second word is hidden.

WATER:  The stream fills a cut, Swills and wave, A new start, gravel and laughter, tick tock on the rim – the two words on the sleeper are not visible.

CONCEIVE:  Stepping out, out of character, You interrogate, A chaos of bearings, Where is the unknown journeyman with his bag of fives, his measuring rod and chisel?  Hand & Eye

Air - Old town to West Swindon cycle path - Wheel sculptures Old Town Cycle path
Old town to West Swindon cycle path

The Power of Social Media

A follower of this blog kindly sent me some newsletters about the project. Thank you so very, very much for that. Back in 1980 the disused railway line running along the southern flank of Swindon was saved from development by a Swindon bike group. They offered to construct a path for walking and cycling. But it wasn’t until the mid-1990s that the bike group got an opportunity to get creative with the path. But the documents can explain it all better than me. They were large documents which I’ve had to break down into segments so you’ll have to ‘piece’ it together I fear. But you get the idea.

The poet, Fiona Sampson, who wrote the words for the wheels said this: ‘The mix of the industrial and the natural and cyclic in Alec’s design made me think hard about the ideas my poems needed to bridge; but it also inspired me to think about words as solid, powerful’.

I have only seen two of them as the walk I was doing didn’t take in the whole of this path. But of the ones I did see…yep powerful would do it for me. And haunting too.

Saturday the 1st of Feb 2014: Fantastic update!

 Swindon local collection, who are slowly digitising all manner of photos and documents have today added photographs to their Flickr photostream of these sculptures being created and installed. Just wonderful!

For more posts about public art in Swindon go here.