Sunday, 20 April 2008

Crosby & Formby Beach

Today we headed off towards Liverpool. To Crosby Beach the home of a piece of modern sculpture by Antony Gormley, it is called Another Place. Getting to it is quite tricky as all that the road sign says; ‘Antony Gormley, Another Place’. So you have to know what you are looking for.
The sculpture consists of 100 cast iron figures which face outwards the Irish sea. Spread over a 2 mile stretch of the beach. Each figure is nearly 6 feetinches and weighs around 650 kg.
In common with most of Gormley's work, the figures are cast replicas of the artist's own body. As the tides ebb and flow, the figures are revealed and submerged by the sea. The figures were cast by Joseph and Jesse Siddons Foundry in West Bromwich.
Another Place was first exhibited on the beach of Cuxhaven, Germany in 1997 and after that in Norway and Belgium.
Another Place is a subject of local controversy in Crosby. Some consider the statues to be "pornographic" due to the inclusion of a simplified penis on the statues, whilst others see them as beautiful pieces of art which have brought increased tourism revenue to the local area.
As of March 2007 permission was granted to have Another Place permanently installed at Crosby. Initially, coastguard authorities expressed safety fears, saying people could become stuck in soft sand and be cut off by the tide when viewing the statues up close.
In October 2006, the local council refused permission for the statues to stay, prompting Gormley to criticise what he called Britain's "risk-averse culture." He said "When I have been down on the beach myself, the majority of people have been intrigued, amused, sometimes very moved," he said.
Another Body Place Ltd, a body set up to campaign for the permanent installation, helped to convince the council to change its mind. The statues are now set to stay on the beach. The scuplture was very good, and I think it will be a place we will come to again, as it will be different each time you see it, as it is affected by the sea, weather ect.

We then went on to Formby to seek out Red Squirrels and Pinewood Forests. Again, it was not well sign posted, just the National Trust sign showing us the way, good job we know what the little Oak Leaf is!
Formby looked a nice town, it seems that lots of footballers live there...We saw lots of posh houses! To the west of the town lie pinewoods and sand dunes (rather eroded, and not as good as St Annes!). The whole of the coastline here is managed by the Sefton Coast Partnership.
The pine woods at Victoria Road have been established as a National Trust reserve for the red squirrel, listed on the endangered species list. Formby is one of several sites in Britain were the red squirrel can still be found although it is now being threatened by the grey squirrel. The red squirrels may not be native to Britain but possibly accidentally introduced from Scandinavia in the 20th century. We did not see any, but that could have been due to having the dog with us?
Formby is also famous for the presence of natterjack toads. Formby is only one of a few sites in England where they will breed. Later in the evening the male’s distinctive song can be heard and is known locally as the ‘Bootle Organ’. In spring the males gather at the edge of shallow pools in the dune slacks and sing to attract a mate. We heard the toads but did not see them.