The four-metre-high timber relief sculpture showing the face of a woman, has been commissioned by Peter White, a Bristol businessman whose generous donation helped Avon Wildlife Trust buy the land next to the Portway in 2015 and turn it into a thriving nature reserve.
The sculpture has been designed to attract and shelter wildlife, and incorporates habitats for birds, bats, amphibians and insects to help wildlife flourish close to the city centre. The nature reserve is already home to great crested newts, slowworms and greater horseshoe bats, as well as many different wild plants and animals, and provides the right conditions for wildlife thanks to the efforts of Avon Wildlife Trust’s volunteers, who support the staff team to look after this special urban site.
Built by Bristol-based creative design company, Codsteaks, the sculpture is a fitting tribute to the role played by Bristol’s women during the war, a legacy Peter White wants to honour. As thousands of men joined the armed services, women played a vital role on the home front, running households, raising families, cultivating food in allotments and gardens and their efforts helped keep the city running. Throughout the war, and particularly during the Bristol blitz in late 1940, women across the city faced hardship and challenges through cold winters, rationing and bombing raids. The land which forms Avon Wildlife Trust’s nature reserve was used for depositing rubble from the Blitz, and the sculpture has been installed in a peaceful part of the nature reserve with trees nearby. A wildflower garland is being cut by Peter White at a ceremony to officially unveil the new artwork today.
The new sculpture will sit alongside the two wicker whales which have become a popular landmark for people travelling along the Portway and which were also built by Codsteaks.