Built on the site of the oldest commercial railway line in Britain—the Stanhope and Tyne Railway Line—this sculpture marks the location of what was once Europe’s largest steelworks.
The sculptures are 20 times the size of the tools they represent. The stainless steel theodolite and engineer’s level stand on the top of a small hill and are visible for miles around. The sculptures of these 19th-century instruments are a monument to the history and industry of the local area.
The enormous sculptures were created by Tony Cragg. Take a good look at the bottom of the instruments, and you’ll notice they’re held up by a peculiar set of “feet”—a human hand, a horse hoof, a bird foot, and a reptilian foot. It’s said these feet were inspired by the symbolic heraldry of shields and coats of arms associated with the local land and its ownership.
The views out toward the distant moors are also worth the visit.
Know Before You Go
Terris Novalis is situated on the Coast to Coast cycle path which means it has relatively easy access for cyclists or those walking the cycle path.
There is on-street parking at the nearby Hownsgill Park industrial estate. Walk out of the main entrance and turn left up the hill. The sculptures are on the left-hand side.
Although best viewed from close-up, the sculptures can easily be seen from the road down to the industrial estate. There are also good views (although somewhat distant) from the local Starbucks car park.