Mammoth mural unveiled in Sheringham as work set to begin on Deep History Coast bid

Mammoth mural on Sheringham promenade by artist David Barber, pictured. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mammoth mural on Sheringham promenade by artist David Barber, pictured. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

What started as a tiny spark of an idea has expanded into a mammoth project in a north Norfolk seaside resort.

Mammoth mural on Sheringham promenade by artist David Barber.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Mammoth mural on Sheringham promenade by artist David Barber.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Artist David Barber was fed up with staring at a blank wall on Sheringham seafront and offered to cover it with a mural.

Mr Barber, 73, chose a neolithic mammoth theme for his creation, in honour of the prehistoric elephant whose skeleton was uncovered in 1990, a little further down the coast at West Runton.

The finished panorama, stretching up to 100m along the promenade wall, has been officially 'opened' by Tom FitzPatrick, leader of North Norfolk District Council, who welcomed it as another attraction as the area steps up its bid to become known as the Deep History Coast.

'They might have something worthwhile in Dorset (home of the Jurrasic Coast) but we have actually got a lot more here,' Mr FitzPatrick told those at the ceremony.

Next month the district council hopes to hold the first meeting of a project board, in conjunction with bodies including Norfolk County Council, to start the scheme rolling.

The district council's grand vision would be to see the coastline from West Runton to Happisburgh - where the earliest human footprints outside Africa were discovered in 2013 - given World Heritage Site status.

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'My ideal would be to see a lifesize bronze replica of the elephant on the cliffs at West Runton,' said Mr FitzPatrick. 'But it will take some time before that could happen and meanwhile we will be working with local communities on developing trails and exhibitions along the coast.'

A section of the newly-refurbished west prom at Cromer had already been earmarked as one exhibition site, he added.

Mr Barber, of Beach Road, Sheringham, chose to set his mammoth scene just 30,000 years ago, rather than in the days of the West Runton mammoth, 700,000 years ago.

The mural includes 34 other animals, ranging from a dung beetle to sabre-tooth cats and rhinos, which he hopes children will enjoy spotting.

'I wanted to do something a bit over the top - on a grand scale - which families and kids could enjoy,' he added.

Mr Barber returned to his native Norfolk 20 months ago, after nearly 40 years living outside the county. As a child, he often spent holidays with his grandmother at West Runton.

Have you got a heritage story? Contact alex.hurrell@archant.co.uk

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