THE newly installed sculpture at Black Rock Lave Net heritage fishery is just one of a series aiming to bring to life characters who have shaped the unique landscape of the Gwent Levels.

The Fisherman, a huge oak figure of a lave net fisherman, was created by local chainsaw carver Chris Wood and recently installed at the picnic site near the fishery.

Weighing in at an impressive 1.8 tonnes, the sculpture shows the fisherman wading thigh-deep through the grass chasing a salmon, which leaps out of the ‘water’ just in front of his net.

South Wales Argus:

The Fisherman Picture: Living Levels

The sculpture, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund through the Living Levels Landscape Partnership, has been designed as a celebration of the Black Rock lave net fishermen and all the traditional fisheries that once operated along the coast of the Gwent Levels.

Mr Wood said: “It’s always an honour and privilege to sculpt a large public artwork like the Black Rock fisherman, although it’s been quite a challenge to create this in lockdown.

"I'm really happy with how the piece came out. It really sits nicely in the space with the Severn Estuary in the background and it will be interesting to see how it weathers and becomes more like the surrounding landscape.


"I’m hoping it will become a much-loved part of the coastal trail, celebrating the lave net fishermen and their rich heritage.”

The ‘People of the Landscape’ sculpture series celebrates some of the characters who have helped shape the Levels landscape over thousands of years.

Later this month Living Levels will be installing two more sculptures.

The Engineer, designed by Rubin Eynon, is modelled on 19th century engineer Thomas A. Walker, who completed the construction of the Severn Tunnel and built Sudbrook village for his workers.

South Wales Argus:

The Engineer. Picture: Living Levels

The 2.4m tall figure is made from Corten steel and will be placed on the old jetty at Black Rock, overlooking the Severn Estuary and the Second Severn Crossing.

The Brinker is a woven willow sculpture of a woman scything the vegetation alongside a reen.

South Wales Argus:

The Brinker. Picture: Living Levels

A ‘brinker’ is old Levels vernacular for a person who owns land on one side of a reen, wall or pill and is responsible for its maintenance.

The figure has been designed by Sarah Hatton and Melanie Bastier and will be installed at Magor Marsh nature reserve.

Martin Morgan, secretary of the Black Rock Lave Net Fishermen’s Association and model for the fisherman sculpture, said: “Black Rock lave net fishermen would like to thank the Living Levels project and Sculptor Chris Wood for making this magnificent sculpture possible.

"We look on it as a tribute to our ancient fishery and indeed all traditional fishermen of the Severn estuary and also an integral part of the Wales coast path and Gwent levels sculpture trail.”

The Fisherman was created at Mr Wood's Caerleon workshop from two pieces of locally sourced oak.

He has worked on hundreds of projects across the country and internationally, including the Forest Farm Giant in Cardiff, an enormous 5.5m tall figure carved from a giant sequoia.