“Random encounters with the unusual” is a repository for the oddities that me and Mrs J have encountered on our travels, which we find interesting or amusing in some way. Have a look, maybe you will find something interesting or amusing herein.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Solstice Sculptures

Solstice Park can be found on the A303 a few miles east of Stonehenge, near Amesbury in Wiltshire. Solstice Park is a fairly typical roadside service area and is home to the usual roadside amenities such as a petrol station, a hotel,  fast food restaurants, etc. One thing that does make Solstice Park stand out however, is its resident sculptures that have been added to the service area over the years.

Six of these creations are part of a six year community project that ran from 2007 to 2013. The project saw a local sculptress and a local business work together to create the artworks, which were commissioned by the Salisbury International Arts Festival. The sculptures are:

1) The Dragonfly

Unveiled on the 11th June 2007, this sculpture of a Dragonfly recycles parts of a Gazelle helicopter. Whilst the sculpture is intended to resemble a Dragonfly, from certain angles it also looks like a duck in flight.

The Dragonfly - Dragonfly or Duck?

2) The Mallow

Unveiled on the 24th June 2007, the 8m tall sculpture named The Mallow was inspired by a flower (the Common Mallow) which once grew extensively on the chalk-land of Solstice Park. The sculpture features the nose-cone of a Beagle Bulldog airplane at its centre, and also includes materials that are more usually used in the construction of road signs.

The Mallow

 3) The Avon

Unveiled on the 10th September 2009, The Avon aims to represent the River Avon as it meanders from Amesbury to Salisbury. The sculpture consists of 105 vertical steel poles which undulate over a distance of 30 metres. The steel poles range in height from 90cm to 2m and are set into a bed of napped flint which is inset with blue solar-powered road studs, to represent sparkling water.

The Avon

 4) The White Horse

Unveiled on the 21st September 2010, The White Horse is a life-sized sculpture that uses bent steel tubing and floating plates of powdercoated steel to depict a thoroughbred mare. The shape of the horse is based upon the Uffington White Horse, which is an iconic Wiltshire hill figure.

The White Horse

5) The Red Kite

Unveiled on the 4th October 2011, The Red Kite was built using welded and powder-coated steel tubing and perforated steel plates. The aim of the sculpture is to celebrating Red Kites, which are beginning to make a come back into the local countryside.

The Red Kite

6) Bladehenge

Unveiled on the 11th March 2013, Bladehenge was the final sculpture in the series of six. Bladehenge was supposedly inspired by the aeronautical forms of propellers and turbines, and features three twisted steel monoliths which resemble nearby Stonehenge.


Solstice Park is also home to another sculpture that was created by a local pair of artists under a different initiative, and this huge sculpture is known as The Ancestor

The Ancestor is a 6.7m tall sculpture which weighs around 6 tonnes. The sculpture was constructed out of thousands of hand-cut pieces of steel which were welded to a steel frame, over a period of nine months. The Ancestor has not been a permanent resident at Solstice park - he has twice taken the trip to Stonehenge to welcome in the Summer Solstice. 

The Ancestor

So if you ever happen to stop off at Solstice Park for fuel or a bite to eat, have a go at trying to find all seven of these interesting sculptures.

Pictures, Wiltshire (May 2014).

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  1. Nice review of the works on Solstice Park, thanks for writing about our Ancestor - Michelle x

  2. Thanks - I hope I got the details correct :-)