New ‘kids’ on the block – The Groves Heritage Trail – York

You may have noticed some new personalities around The Groves area of York.  They have been peeping out from circular ‘windows’ along some of the streets.

An Ox, a Magpie, a Reindeer and a Peregrine.

I was commissioned by York Council to create 4 wildlife images for The Groves as the starting point for a community Heritage Trail leading around this vibrant corner of York.

This is a wonderful city with a rich heritage and welcoming communities. As you wander around the city you can find historical markers celebrating local people, events and landmarks. Being a city wildlife artist I’ve always had one eye on the natural world and one on the works of art that spring up all around our cities.

There used to be 3 pubs within this small area of York – The Ox, The Magpie and The Reindeer.

Pubs, along with schools and shops are often at the heart of a community and better still, these 3 pubs were named after some very characterful animals and birds.  What better place for me to start my creations?

The images I have created are my interpretation of the animals who gave their names to your community pubs. Sadly these pubs are no longer with us, but I’m sure there are plenty of people around the area who have memories of times spent in those 3 establishments.

I hope the characters the residents see peeping out at them will be a reminder and a celebration of those places at the heart of their community.  It is hoped that these images will encourage residents to share memories of life in The Groves.

But why the Peregrine?

Peregrines are amazing birds, agile in flight despite a 1m wingspan. In wild spaces they roost and nest on rocky cliff sides, swooping at great speed from their vantage point as they chase their prey. Until fairly recently Peregrines have been endangered species.  As a wildlife artist I love to champion endangered species and to help people to appreciate the beauty of the natural world around us, even in the middle of our cities.  Here in York we are privileged to have Peregrines flying above our city. In recent years their numbers have improved and they have been seen in several city centres enjoying the ‘cliff faces’ of tall buildings.  Feral pigeons are a favourite meal for a Peregrine – another reason for choosing to move to a city centre!

The York birds have been seen commuting between the city centre and the open spaces to the north – their north/south flight path taking them directly over The Groves. How wonderful for the residents to have these magnificent birds up in the skies above their homes.

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