The Norfolk Way Art Trail
The EXPERIENCE project launched the Norfolk Way Art Trail Open Call to artists in September 2021. Those selected will receive funding to develop and design a multi-sensory, accessible public artwork that engages the five targeted local communities, reveals hidden stories, and inspires visitors to explore the county between October – March.
The dynamic new public artworks for the 250-mile trail will be installed at Diss Mere; North Walsham & Dilham Canal; Great Yarmouth’s newly developed Market Place; Boal Quay, King’s Lynn and Reedham Ferry Inn. You can listen to local stakeholders offering their inspiration and ideas for the public artworks here.
Each of these locations offer a rich and unique history and ecology.
The town of Diss is mentioned in the Doomsday Book as ‘Disce’, a Saxon word meaning ‘a pool of standing water’. The mere is one of the deepest inland natural lakes in the UK and its dark waters have been subject to ancient folklore tales.
It is also a site of scientific interest. The Royal Holloway University has worked with climatologists, archaeologists and geographers to piece together clues on the history of human occupation at Diss Mere, reconstructing patterns in climate change over the past 10,000 years.
Boal Quay, Kings Lynn
King’s Lynn was one of only 4 medieval Hanse towns in the UK. During the 14th century, King's Lynn ranked as England's most important port with two rare Hanseatic League warehouses still in existence.
St Margaret’s Church was once lit with whale-oil lamps and Blubber House Creek, where whale blubber and bones were processed, sits at the entrance to the town.
Great Yarmouth Market Place
The wind turbines out at sea on the east side of Great Yarmouth’s vast sandy beaches are a big boost to the economy, bringing in hi-tech jobs near the harbour. The town has many historic medieval rows that run through it. These are a network of narrow alleyways linking Yarmouth’s three main thoroughfares. Circus and outdoor performance has been a vital contribution to local culture and livelihoods.
North Walsham and Dilham Canal
Traversing the mills dotted along the transportation network, Dilham Canal delivered cargoes including agricultural produce. Its last commercial use was in 1934. The nearby town of North Walsham was involved in the historically significant Peasants' Revolt of 1381. The peasant leaders were defeated at the Battle of North Walsham. North Walsham's park features an oak tree sculpture commemorating the Battle of the Peasants’ Revolt and the Agricultural Workers Union which was founded in the town in 1906.
Reedham Ferry Inn
This location offers a very characteristic example of the unique & beautiful natural landscapes in the Broads National Park made up of 60 open waterways and seven rivers: the Ant, Bure, Chet, Thurne, Waveney, Wensum and Yare. The Broads were dug out in medieval times to provide peat for fuel. In the 14th century, these peat diggings flooded, creating the beautiful waterways we see today. Historically, boats shipped sugar beet along the canal. The Reedham Chain Ferry and Swing bridge on the River Yare are an important part of the area’s railway and boating heritage.
The commission will create permanent site-specific public artworks, designed to communicate and enhance the unique culture, personality, nature, stories, and heritage of each location. The outcome will be a dynamic, inclusive art trail made up of multi-sensory, accessible artworks, especially suited to viewing in the autumn and winter months to encourage off-peak tourism in Norfolk.
This public arts initiative is project-managed by creative agency Creative Giants, who will provide support to the selected artists throughout the realisation of the artworks, including mentorship, technical advice, and guidance on working with fabrication teams.
For further information on the EXPERIENCE project, please contact EXPERIENCE@norfolk.gov.uk.