The Village of Thixendale

Waves and Time

In addition to the ancient earthworks around Thixendale, we are now graced with a modern one on the route of the Wolds Way .

The artist Chris Drury was commissioned to create a new work of art Waves and Time (previously called Time and Flow) in Thixen Dale (follow the path from the bottom of Fotherdale southwards), and the first stage of the project is now complete.

Waves and Time was commissioned as part of “Wander – Art on the Yorkshire Wolds Way”, a programme of artists’ commissions for sites on the Wolds Way. Its aims include increasing enjoyment and awareness of the Wolds Way and the surrounding countryside and encouraging more visitors to the route, locally and from further afield. The artist was selected, and the project managed, by a Steering Group composed mainly of Thixendale residents.

The artwork was featured as part of a BBC TV Countryfile program on Jan 8th 2012, with Matt Baker meeting Chris and walking around the ‘swirl’.

Wander was initiated by Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY) and is a partnership project managed with the local authorities (East Riding of Yorkshire Council and North Yorkshire County Council) along the Wolds Way and Natural England. It is funded with grants from the Arts Council of England and the LEADER European Rural Development Fund.

The quoted text and the initial photos on this page come from Chris’s blog entry .

From 3 days at the Edinburgh Festival we drove down to Thixendale in the Yorkshire Wolds where I was due to start construction of a work in this stunning chalk valley. The commission was for The Yorkshire Wolds Way and I first saw this valley in November last year. My reaction to the valley was that this was the sculpture and anything added would have to be very subtle.The site was at the confluence of two glacial valleys and I noticed that a curve had been carved out of the far bank where the meeting of two glaciers would have formed a vortex before flowing on down.

My plan was therefore to draw these lines of ancient flow in gentle grassed mounds. In the smaller of the two valleys was a small disused dew pond which I wanted to restore and incorporate.

Work was delayed until late summer as we needed planning permission and a magnetic resonance survey for archeological disturbances. I spent 3 days stringing out the site into a grid of 10 m. squares. Then made the drawing in lime and water lines.


The work was being carried out for me by Clive and Leslie from Country Plan and they had already completed the dew pond, using the traditional means of a thick layer of clay, covered in a layer of straw then stones to prevent cattle from puncturing the clay liner.

On the Monday Mike Dee arrived – the best digger driver in Yorkshire. He came with machine and his dog Alfie, who proceeded to bark at all passers by and generally get in the way – much to the amusement of us all. Also present were Louise and Dominic, the local archeologists, employed to check out anything we dug up. In the end this amounted to a few fragments of medieval pottery and a sheep’s bone!

So we started in the middle and worked outwards, Mike digging and me raking by hand. Mike was an artist with the digger and made the most beautiful job. His bucket was 40 cm. deep which was as deep as the trench. What came out went on the mound. He started by removing the turf on the ditch, then scooped out the rest. It took about 4 days in all.

The work has now been seeded with a natural grass mix and fenced. It will be green in a month and in 6 months we can take down the fence and let the cattle in.

Related links

BBC:East Yorkshire Wolds walk to get outdoor arts trail

Wolds Way