Yeovil’s railway past is on the wall

A NEW mural is bringing alive part of the railway history of Yeovil on a on a concrete covered stretch of wall that runs alongside part of the old line in what is now Yeovil Country Park.

The painting by Bristol artist Jody Thomas is part of the Heritage lottery-funded V3 Involve Visit Volunteer project at the park.

The mural, alongside the cycleway which follows the original route of the former railway line, close to the site of the old Hendford Halt Station (where B&M now stands, depicts the heritage and wildlife of the country park.

Huge train wheels loom out of a cloud of steam and a Wallace Aircraft, manufactured by Westlands, soars overhead. A kingfisher dives down towards an otter sheltering near a cluster of yellow flag iris, whilst bumblebees and butterflies float around foxgloves and bluebells.  A giant ladybird and beetle crawl up the wall and a bat swoops down from above. A pair of breeding swans are depicted with their cygnets. All are watched over by a green woodpecker, the emblem for Yeovil Country Park.

Jody Thomas says: “As community art projects go, this has been without doubt the most engaging and fulfilling I have ever been involved in. From the moment I started the wall passers-by of all ages, from the very young to the very old, have stopped by to ask questions, made interesting suggestions and comment on how this rather dull looking wall needed brightening up. I would say a good part of my days working at the park I spent speaking to all manner of people who stopped by, even people running and on bikes would shout their approval as they passed by!”

Community ranger Becky Russell says her favourite part of the painting is the otter: “Several people have asked if we have otters at Yeovil Country Park, and we do have these magnificent animals throughout the park; from the River Yeo at Riverside Walk and Wyndham Hill, through to Dodham Brook and the lake at Ninesprings.”