Art In Chester-le-Street, County Durham
A sculpture called Old King Coal celebrating the area's proud coal mining history.
If you have cycled along the Sustrans C2C route then may have seen this piece of art. This is Old King Coal (or sometimes just King Coal) and was built using stone from the dismantled Consett railway station bridge and bricks from old kilns. The crown was finally supplied by British Coal.
Designed by David Kemp (the lad who built the Old Transformers), it was similarly created to celebrate the industrial expertise and history of the region and was constructed with the help of local volunteers and redundant miners and steelworkers.
Director and chief engineer of Sustrans, John Grimshaw, was commissioned to build a series of milestone and landmark sculptures throughout the cycle network using discarded materials. The landmarks are fabricated to showcase the history of the surrounding area and how it has changed over time.
Old King Coal was completed on 15 October 1992 which by sheer coincidence, was the very day of the announcement of the closure of the last pits in Durham.
Both Old King Coal and the Old Transformers are along the C2C cycle path, so if you are on two wheels then it's a short 13km pedal between them. A further 5km onwards and you will find Terris Novalis.
For those wondering why all the photos are from a similar angle, there was a whacking industrial estate the other side of the cycle path, which wasn't as picturesque ??
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Head right out of the car park and down the road as it slopes down. After a minute's walk there is a dirt track heading up a slope on the left. Head up that and you are now on the C2C cycle path. You will see Old King Coal on your right.
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There is a nearby public car park just a short 2 minute away.
Contributed by Simon Hawkins
Thanks for checking out this place on the Fabulous North! I do enjoy a wander out in to the countryside trying to find hidden gems that not many people know about. You can't beat a rogue Pele tower up a remote hill or a mysterious stone circle or a stunning waterfall secluded in a forest.
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