Bishop's Castle Elephant Art Trail will stampede ahead with a grant of £5,000 from Shropshire Council as part of the Covid-19 small market towns Marches investment fund.
Working with the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (MLEP), this funding has been made available for key Shropshire market towns to support initiatives aimed at enabling safe reopening, social distancing, driving footfall and re-invigorating the town economy.
The March of the Elephants is a project to create a world-class elephant-themed trail of varied artworks carefully placed around the picturesque town of Bishop’s Castle.
The name is a play on the Shropshire Marches and celebrates the town’s long association with the elephant.
Project spokesperson, Keith Whiddon, said: “This funding will help us scale up to become a major tourist attraction for the region and provide a much needed boost to our local economy.
"We believe that this trail is unique in that it provides highly creative artworks of different shapes, sizes and media.”
Acclaimed national artist Andy Hazel has agreed to make a large bas-relief beaten copper elephant wearing a howdah to be sited in a prominent location in the High Street.
Local artist Bamber Hawes will paint a huge mural of a standing elephant on the side of a building in the Town Centre.
He added: “Bishop’s Castle has earned a reputation for its colourful murals. The scale of this one will make it a highly visual landmark that will definitely put the town on the map.”
Another artist will make a large elephant out of bent willow and canvas with a hidden windmill powering its swinging tail in a field near the entrance to Bishop’s Castle.
The March of the Elephants trail started last year with Winnie the Wintles Mammoth – a giant brushwood sculpture up on the Wintles in the town.
Keith said: "We are also in the process of completing a large stained-glass elephant mural created by local artist Helen Robinson as part of the Bishop’s Castle Arts Festival.
"It will be installed in a Town Hall window so that it is visible prominently from outside.
“We shall ensure that the trail is Covid-safe. It will be self-guided and as all sites are outdoors and spread out across the town, social distancing will be maintained.”
The grant will also help to support Bishop’s Castle Weighbridge Projects Heritage Day In September, as well as enabling important updates to the town council’s website.