River benefits from the chair necessities

Quiet reflection: Artist Jason Thomson.
Quiet reflection: Artist Jason Thomson.
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TAKE a seat! A sculpture of a huge chair has been installed on a small island in the middle of the River Rivelin - to symbolise the spot as a place of reflection, natural beauty and fun.

The creation has been devised as part of the Big Lottery Fund’s 2nd Nature Project, which aims to promote natural play in the city’s woodlands.

Catherine Nuttgens, the 2nd Nature project officer, found that when working with youngsters in the valley over the last two summers, children were drawn to the island as part of imaginative play.

She said: “I wanted something that would encourage quiet reflection and appreciation of the wildlife of the River Rivelin, while echoing the woodland heritage and industrial architecture that can be observed along the river’s banks. The chair creates a magical element to the river, slightly away from the beaten track.”

The installation has the support of Rivelin Valley Conservation Group members, who, despite their initial reservations, were won over by Catherine’s ‘persistence and enthusiasm’ for the project.

Keith Kendall, vice chairman of the group, said: “Now it has been installed we think it looks great and with the passing of time it will become just as big an iconic structure to identify this area of the valley as the waterwheels that once graced this site.”

The chair, crafted like a seat made of coppice wood to reflect the thriving coppice industry that existed on the river even before the water mills, is made of cast iron.

It was designed and produced by local artist Jason Thomson who wanted to reflect other pieces of ironmongery around the valley left behind from the mills, and the twisted tree roots winding around the old dam walls.