Layers of Bournemouth – a Public Artwork


Between the 18th April and 7th May 2018, the artists and volunteers spent 10 days at Hengitsbury Head digging earth, mixing it with clay and pigments and ramming it into a two and a half metre tall wooden box. Unveiled on the 7th May, Layers of Bournemouth is a rammed earth sculpture that invites passers-by to slow down and contemplate the beauty and age of our precious natural world.

Marshall chose to use the rammed earth technique to avoid man-made materials, such as plastics. These are so new that the earth has not had time to adapt to them. The pollution and damage they cause are a symptom of our unhealthy rushed disposable society. This contrasts starkly to the millions of years involved in geological time, as exemplified by the nearby cliffs, and mirrored in the layers of soil in the sculpture.

Layers of Bournemouth was shortlisted for the PSSA 2021 Marsh Award for Excellence in Public Sculpture.

Layers of Bournemouth

Rammed Earth
2.5 x 1.2 x 1.1 m
Unique and site specific

Public artwork available to visit on Hengitsbury Head, a scenic and historic headland near the town of Bournemouth on the south coast of England:
Google Maps location

The creation of the work was document on instagram under the hashtag (scroll down to the bottom first to watch in chronological order):

Outcomes of the project

Click to download a Layers of Bournemouth evaluation report that outlines the key outcomes of the project.

Highlights include:

  • Build took 100 hours onsight witnessed by 30,000 visitors
  • 1,500 people engaged the team in conversation
  • 80 passers-by (adults and children) helped in the creation
  • 19 volunteers spent an average of 1.1 days each helping create the work
  • Featured on social media, local press and local facebook groups
  • The work continues to get 600,000 visitors / year


Audience comments

Video of Layers of Bournemouth in 2021

the making of layers of bournemouth
Plastic Mountain
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