Along the Route
There’s lots to see and do along the solar system model. The track is a wonderful nature reserve with many different species of trees along the way, and an abundance of wild life to see and hear. Remember too that this was once a railway line. There are several good pubs not far from the track, most of which serve good food.
Between Mars and Jupiter lies Brunswick Organic Nursery - a productive workplace for adults with learning difficulties. They sell a wide range of plants and also supply refreshments.
Naburn bridge is an old steam-powered swing bridge. If you climb down to the river bank under the bridge you can still see where the steam engine was housed. On top of the bridge was a signal box where the signalman could watch out for barges coming up the Ouse to York.
Naburn station is one of two stations on the solar model. Here at Naburn some of the station buildings survive and it’s a good place to stop for some refreshment in the cafe, which is often open in the summer months. Here you can admire the 1/3 scale model of the Cassini probe.
The old Escrick station lay beyond Uranus and just before Neptune. Nothing remains of it now except for the cutting in which it stood. the track actually goes above the cutting which has been turned into a small grass maze.
Beyond Pluto is the model of Voyager I, the first man-made object to leave the solar system. The model is 1/3 actual size, the same scale as the Cassini model at Naburn station.
The Millennium bridge was built to a competition-winning design by Whitby Bird and Partners and was was opened in April 2001 and cost £4.2 million to build.
The old Naburn swing bridge over the river Ouse once carried the 'Flying Scotsman' on its way north. Now the bridge carries route 65 of the National Cycle network and is owned by Sustrans.
Towards the end of 2000, we made a successful application to the City of York Council's "Creative Communities 2000" scheme, a part of the City's Millennium celebrations, funded by the Lottery Millennium Commission and administered by Rural Arts. Creative Communities 2000 enabled voluntary and community groups to mark the Millennium in an artistic form and encouraged these groups to be creative in the Millennium year and beyond.
For this project local artist, Pete Rogers was asked to design a sculpture for Naburn bridge. To involve the community in this project, Pete Rogers held an Open Day on the bridge with the Friends in October 2000. This generated many drawings, models and descriptions of possible sculptures that could enhance the bridge. From these contributions, Pete Rogers sketched three possible sculptures and we then enjoyed a workshop session with the artist making 'maquettes' of these three proposals. One depicted the 'Flying Scotsman', one a group of people who use the bridge today, and the third model was the 'Fisher of Dreams'. In January 2001 these models were displayed in local schools, Naburn post-office, Bishopthorpe library, Tescos in Dringhouses and on the bridge itself. As a result of these exhibitions a total of more than 800 people voted for their favourite design and the clear winner was the 'Fisher of Dreams'. The sculpture was installed on the bridge in August 2001.
Pete Rogers, the artist, has had an extensive career in shipbuilding and engineering as a skilled metalworker, naval architect and structural designer. In 1996-7 he attended Camberwell College of Arts as an Associate student studying silver/metal design. He is currently developing a career in the art world which involves a combination of part time teaching, developing his own work and undertaking public art commissions. He is also a co-director of Xceptional Designs - see Xceptional Designs web site. He has travelled extensively in the Far East and Africa as an overseas development consultant and continues to do engineering work on a freelance basis.
The Fisher of Dreams is constructed in the main from galvanized 2cm diameter steel rod. The height of the fisher from the top of the bridge to the top of his head is over 4 metres. The dog is 3.3 metres from nose to tail and 2 metres tall. The bike wheels are 8 feet in diameter.
The sculpture has the full support of and some financial backing from the owners of the bridge, Sustrans.