Fascinating Adur

Regretting that extra helping of Christmas pud? Whether it’s a hike up Cissbury Ring or a stroll along the prom, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to bracing ways to burn off the post-Christmas blues.

BUT IF YOU PREFER A SIDE ORDER OF CULTURE with your workout, we’d suggest heading over to Shoreham for a wander along the riverside walk. You can even belt out your best tuneless version of “Deck the Halls” with only the waves and an occasional seagull to hear you.

Park up at Ropetackle, and as you drive in pay attention to the waymarkers on the right hand side and straight ahead. If you get up close you can see trilobites and lizards cast into Jon Mill’s 5m-tall structures, as well as elements of boat paraphernalia such as hooks, ropes and toggles.

A quick stroll south towards the Norfolk Bridge and you will find another statuesque treasure tucked around the corner. Steve Geliot loves to play games with scale, and his Barnacle Trees are a magnified 10m-tall version of the microscopic barnacles that cling to the pebbles on the riverbed. Run your hands over the knobbly wooden bases and if you’re there at dusk watch out for the fibre optic branches as they light up.

The Barnacle Trees Shoreham

The Barnacle Trees, Steve Geliot

As you head back towards the slipway, you’ll come across Amanda Hopkins’ optical lenses built into the balustrade. Children will love peeking through them, with nearby boats and cars unexpectedly appearing upside down, magnified, refracted or reframed. Inspired by the skies and the history of the Glasshouse studios, Hopkins’ work is designed to prompt us to look closer at what is around us.

Optical Lenses Balustrade Shoreham

Optical Lenses, Amanda Hopkins

Perched on the slipway sits Teresa Martin’s textural cast iron and bronze resin droplet. It may look abstract, but it draws on natural elements such as the tidal patterns on the riverbed, the vegetation, the light on the water and the shapes created by erosion and silting. Peer into the internal cavities inspired by the excavated smugglers tunnels running under the streets of Shoreham.

Further along the sea wall on the Riverside walk you’ll find Anna Twinam-Cauchi’s wooden sculptures. Shaped from salvaged and surface-damaged sea defence timber, these carved forms reference the history of Shoreham port with a mixture of native and imported woods often used in marine environments, including greenheart, mahogany, balau and ekki.

Children are encouraged to hide in Paul Harrington’s hinged and hollowed out mussel shell, which is accompanied by five carved wooden posts perfect for clambering (watch out for the water!). Carved from cedar wood, their tactile organic shapes draw on the simple forms of flora and fauna found in the estuary.

Rachel Reynolds’ sculptural seating draws on the meandering curves of the River Adur and the colour and texture of the river bank. Cast in concrete, the seating incorporates imported materials with local ones in a nod to the area’s history as a port.

Sculptural Seating Adur

Sculptural Seating & Mussel Shell, Rachel Reynolds & Paul Harrington

Finally, outside Ropetackle, take a pew on Steven Follen’s organic benches which curve around the entrance in an echo of the tidal ebb and flow of the nearby Adur. The benches were created using the gabion technique frequently used to stabilise shorelines, stream banks or slopes against erosion, where metal cages are filled with rocks and concrete. Don’t forget to look down at the ornate grilles around the trees, which are influenced by the ripples on the water surface and river bed.

If like us you believe in the absolute necessity for a reviving pint at walk’s end, Shoreham has a pub for you.

By Zoe Rhodes