A golden future at Pooley Country Park

A glowing new public work of art has been unveiled on the former spoil heap at Pooley Country Park in Polesworth.

On Friday (September 30), the unique work – a ‘golden tower of leaves’ – was seen for the first time after it was officially unveiled by local councillor Tilly May, artists Mathew and Louise Scullion and Years 3 and 4 youngsters from nearby Stonydelph Primary School.

It was commissioned as part of the regeneration of Pooley Country Park being delivered by the Warwickshire County Council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The artwork was chosen following consultation with local people to help revitalise and create a strong identity for the area’s regeneration.

The art project, called Gold Leaf: Buried Sunlight, is a new landmark on the site of the former Pooley Hall Colliery visible from the M42. It is designed to complement other improvements including the creation of a spiral path up the spoil heap.

The public art is being funded through the HCA’s National Coalfields Programme as part of its investment into the wider regeneration of Pooley.

Warwickshire County Councillor Tilly May said: “This arts project is about the regeneration of Pooley through use of the arts.  We can see all around us evidence of nature regenerating the workings, with the trees colonising the spoil and pools forming as a result of the land collapsing deep underground.  Our project has been to build on the work nature is doing for us and add interest to the park.

“We were always clear that we wanted something different and thought provoking and something that would act as a focal point for the park. In particular, we want to draw visitors’ attention from the motorway and of course to encourage people, when they get to the park, to explore the pools and the nature reserve.”

Paula Cheesman, Warwickshire County Council’s Country Parks Visitor Development Manager, added: “The unveiling of the golden tower was the culmination of a huge amount of work with park visitors, the local community and the artists to create a lasting landmark for the park. The artwork is the centrepiece of the regeneration project which is essential for the long-term future success of Pooley Country Park.”

The artwork was chosen from a range of concepts presented to a steering group. The ‘golden tower of leaves’ was selected as it is an idea with depth and relevance to the formation of the park. The Birch leaf is synonymous with Pooley, as Birch trees were one of the first species to recolonise the disturbed ground following the closure of the colliery.