The Mythic Coast Artwork Trail was commissioned as part of funding awarded from the Sea Change Regeneration programme to focus on bringing Wyre’s coastline, spanning Fleetwood to Cleveleys, to life with a public art trail.
Following a public consultation, author Gareth Thompson wrote his first book for young readers after hearing stories from the local community. Taking inspiration from these conversations, including local maritime history and the lost village of Singleton Thorpe, The Sea Swallow intertwines local folklore and mythology and brings a sense of enchantment to the seafront.
Drawing inspiration from the story, and utilising the natural backdrop of the Irish Sea, British sculptor Stephen Broadbent designed a number of interactive artworks to animate the coastline. A ten metre coated aluminium beacon lures you to the seafront with sea swallows emerging from the top of the sculpture and illustrations from the book around the base.
Carved from a seventeen-tonne limestone boulder is another familiar character from the book- a four-metre Sea Ogre guarding Cleveleys’ shoreline. During high tide the character is engulfed by sea waves only to emerge again when the tide goes out. A nine-metre long timber paddle can also be seen washed ashore inscribed with words from The Sea Swallow… ‘the Sea Ogre's paddle drifted up, to lie on the muddy sand like some strange offering...’
As the tide goes out a four-metre high sea shell sits in the sand- small enough to be immersed by high tide and large enough for you to climb inside at low tide. Inside the shell you can hear the sounds of the sea and etched in the shell are the words from the book.
At the beginning of the art trail on Cleveleys Promenade is a steel memorial to all the known shipwrecks that have occurred across the Fylde Coast from 1643 to 2008. This includes the most recent shipwreck in 2008, HMS Riverdance, and a number of unidentified wrecks. One of the most well-known shipwrecks listed is the Abana (1894), which became disorientated after mistaking the newly built Blackpool Tower for a lighthouse.