Iconic statues celebrating wildlife that once roamed Coalville have been moved as part of plans to transform the Snibston Colliery site.
The £3m regeneration scheme will see the site turned into a vibrant place to visit.
The latest milestone has seen the three Irish elk statues – a favourite with residents and visitors to the site – migrate 278 metres south of the new-look country park to a more prominent location.
The elks, which have been sculpted from mild steel and scrap metal from tractor ploughs, were created and installed in 2001, by Sally Matthews, to celebrate the now-extinct animals once calling Coalville their home.
These sculptures are one of the largest I have ever been commissioned to create. Physically it is was a challenge due to their size and complexity - I had to remove the end of my shed to get them out.
“I get people contacting me to say how much they enjoy looking at them on their walks. It is great to hear and I’m glad they are continuing to be admired as part of the scheme.Person:Sally Matthews, animal sculpture artist
The ambitious plans include building a new environmentally-friendly café, mountain bike trails, cycle route, children’s play area and a new interpretation of the historic colliery site.
The work is set to be complete next month. The country park is currently open while work is ongoing.
The elks are an important part of the history of Snibston and are well-loved by visitors and Coalville residents. The relocation is another significant step for this exciting project and I’m delighted with the progress that has been made.
“Not only will this redevelopment make the park more attractive for families, dog walkers and cyclists to explore, but it will also reconnect the site with the town.
“We want Snibston Country Park to be an asset for the community, which stays true to the site’s mining heritage roots.Person:Nick Rushton, county council leader
The authority is also planning to include a new heritage trail, improved country park, open space and picnic site.
Once finished, the site will also feature solar panels and electric vehicle charging points, which go towards the council’s commitment of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Construction company, Fortem, have been delivering the project on site.
We understand how significant the elks are to the heritage of Snibston and how loved they are by the local community. We have planned the moving of the elks carefully to ensure this valued piece of history is protected and will take pride of place once the works are complete.Person:Mick Williamson, managing director at Fortem
We are also working with the Snibston Heritage Group to provide interpretation and access to the historic colliery buildings and the story of Coalville.
Visitor information for all the council’s country parks can be found by visiting: www.leicscountryparks.org.uk