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  • Riverside Walkway before and after
  • Artboards featuring in the outdoor galleries along the Riverside Walkway

Riverside Walkway Revitalised

This public walkway from the Ham playpark to Alma Bridge that was once unloved now features outdoor galleries and a brass rubbing trail, plus new railings, lighting, seating, planters and signage.

New outdoor gallery

Sit or stroll through past, present and future - every artwork tells a tale. From Triassic to today. From dinosaur footprints to shoals of mackerel and migrating eels. From fishing and boating heritage to the River Sid's life-giving biodiversity and bringing the community together on the Ham. 

Along the walkway, a new gallery explores historic and contemporary themes:

  • Ancient coastline - fossils and traces of the Triassic period
  • Fishing heritage - lives and times of a vibrant fishing community
  • River Sid biodiversity - its unique flora, fauna and ecosystem
  • Ham history - this space enjoyed across Sidmouth generations
We're grateful for the support of Nigel Hyman (SVA and former Sidmouth Museum Curator), Ed Dolphin (Sid Valley Biodiversity) and Jon Ball (Sidmouth Arboretum) for their insights and input into local history and biodiversity in and around Sidmouth.
The information board at the Alma Bridge entrance to the Walkway
Discover the humble hedgehog among the nine brass rubbing plates

New Brass rubbing trail

A trail of nine plates featuring flora and fauna that reflect the biodiversity of Sidmouth and the River Sid. Brass rubbing trail packs are available from the Sidmouth Tourism Information Centre. This part of the project aims to connect us with nature in a tactile way, encouraging us to cherish and take care of this beautiful wellbeing space.

Welcome to Riverside Walkway Brass Rubbing Trail The trail leaflet is available from the tourist information centre in Sidmouth
Brass rubbing trail with each of the 9 placques to find 1. Marbled White Butterfly, 2, Cormorant, 3. Kingfisher, 4. Salmon, 5. Otter, 6. Danish Scurvy Grass. 7. Hedgehog, 8.Gull.  9. Bat Local flora and fauna are featured in the brass rubbing trail
New railings installed and cleaned walkway, making the space more enjoyable. Walkway outdoor galleries along with seating and great views

Riverside Walkway Revitalised

Along with the brass rubbing trail and outdoor galleries, many improvements have revitalised this space for walking, learning, or just sitting and enjoying the surroundings where the Sid meets the sea:

  • Lighting - new bat-friendly lighting to balance safety and biodiversity
  • Railings - in-keeping with the materials used on the Alma bridge 
  • Seating - new seating handpainted with designs inspired by community workshops
  • Planters - courtesy of our friends at Sidmouth in Bloom
  • Signage - linking the walkway to the South West Coast Path and the Byes Riverside Park.
We were a close community of shopkeepers, work was fun. We once swapped all the fish in the window display for sweets from the sweet shop next door!
Reminiscing at one of the Memory Cafe workshops
Print maker Emma Molony at a workshop on the Ham Emma Molony sharing her skills at one of the community workshops

Community-inspired art and memories

The artworks featured in the artboard galleries and the brass rubbing plates were created through community involvement. Print maker Emma Molony led a series of art workshops with students from Sidmouth College and In Focus, and people living with dementia and their carers at the Memory Cafe, plus patrons of the Oasis Cafe at the Dissenters. Each workshop welcomed people from across the generations to learn, talk, share and make together:

  • A print workshop led by Emma at the Sid Valley Biodiversity Festival saw 40 children and families attending. The Sensory Garden on the Ham was an ideal location - the experience of making and creating in nature was mindful, creative and joyful. Plants and flowers from the garden provided inspiration and everyone had an opportunity to create prints.
  • Emma worked with over 90 Year 7, 8 and 9s at Sidmouth College introducing them to the project, its themes and different print techniques. The students explored wildlife in the River Sid and created monographs and collagraphs of local creatures and their habitats including Danish Scurvy Grass found on Sidmouth Beach.
  • Two workshops with Sidmouth's Memory Cafe gave people with memory loss and their carers opportunities to talk about Sidmouth's rich fishing heritage. Topics included childhood memories of fishing, boats and community togetherness. Followed by print making with nets, seaweed and shells and collagraphs of fish that were once the daily catch.

All this work filtered through into the design of the outdoor galleries, brass rubbing trail and handpainted seating. Check out the fabulous prints and photos from our workshops.

We are grateful for the support for this project from all our funders and partners

Arts Council England

Joint funders of the SMArt project which the Riverside Walkway revitalised project is part of.

Sidmouth Town Council

We are grateful to STC for working collaboratively and providing match funding for the project for the new railings, benches and signage.

Sid Vale Association

Advisers and joint funders of the project through the Keith Owen Fund, it is important to have this joined up approach in our community and we are thankful for their support.

Devon County Council

We are grateful to DCC for the funding support from their Community Grant scheme.

The Arts Society Sidmouth

We are delighted that the Arts Society have supported the project and provided welcome encouragement.

East Devon AONB

With shared aims to protect and enhance the environment we are grateful to East Devon AONB for their funding support.

Sidmouth In Bloom

Sidmouth In Bloom are part of the fabric of Sidmouth and we are delighted to be working with them on this project.  SIB have provided new planters as part of the riverside walkway regeneration and will advise on further planting.

Sid Valley Biodiversity Group

We are delighted to have the advice and expertise of the Sid Valley Biodiversity Group to support this project.

Local history

Local history compiled with the support of historians and experts Nigel Hyman (SVA and ex Sidmouth Museum Curator), Ed Dolphin (Sid Valley Biodiversity) and Jon Ball.