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New mural brightens Forder Valley walking and cycling route

A colourful mural has been created along the recently upgraded walking and cycling route near the busy Forder Valley (Leigham) Interchange.

As part of the transport improvements completed last year, a 48-metre-long retaining wall was constructed alongside the footway and cycleway between Forder Valley Road and Longbridge Road, to support an additional lane on the roundabout.

It started life as steel panels with a weathered, rusty look but has been brought to life by Plymouth-based James Edgar Studio.

With an uneven line and varying height, the wall posed some design challenges but the team took inspiration from the local landscape to create a piece that reflects the natural environment and nearby nature reserves.

Vertical geometric lines have been painted to mirror the trees and foliage, with a hidden message that appears to walkers and cyclists when approaching the wall from either side. It reminds everyone to look after nature and the environment and to nurture their own soul through being outdoors.

The colours have been chosen with the surrounding environment of the nature reserve in mind, with greens for the foliage and a deep blue for the adjacent stream.

Deputy Council Leader Jemima Laing, who has Cabinet responsibility for culture, said: “We wanted to provide something that would make what was a dull steel wall more visually appealing for people using the path, as well as reflect the local natural environment. This new mural not only does that but also includes an important message that people will discover – and maybe talk about – on their journeys. We’d like to thank James Edgar Studio for the careful thought they put into their design.”

James at James Edgar Studio said: “It has been a privilege to design and implement this unique artwork for the local community. Our intention is that the design can only be experienced in its entirety if you are on a journey, cycling or walking along the pathway. The mural encourages all of us to rediscover our natural environments and surroundings through activity and immersion. Thank you to everyone’s kind words and encouragement while we were painting.”

As well as an improved walking and cycling route, the Forder Valley Interchange scheme also included an upgraded and extended merge from Leigham Roundabout onto Forder Valley Road and an additional lane from Forder Valley Road onto the roundabout.