Work begins on new landmark 62ft cross in South East Cornwall
WORK has begun on Cornwall's answer to the Angel of the North.
Contractors are building the base for the 62ft Celtic Cross in Elwell Woods at the west end of the Tamar Bridge.
"Everything is on schedule," said Saltash councillor Joe Ellison, who is in charge of the project.
He said the cross should be finished in the autumn and craned into place in one piece, in an opening ceremony to be featured on BBC TV's The One Show.
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Workmen have this week been adding steel rods to re-enforce the base, with concrete set to be poured in next week.
The project is funded by grants totalling nearly £600,000, mostly from the Lottery's Community Spaces scheme.
Mr Ellison said it was seen as one of the top five Community Spaces projects in the country.
The project includes the restoration of the neglected Elwell Woods. The cross was designed by sculptor Simon Thomas and is being built in a hangar at Newquay Airport.
The project is being overseen by the Saltash Waterfront Residents' Association.
Mr Ellison said the cross was so long that it could not be brought direct to Saltash on the winding road through the Glynn Valley, but would have to travel to Exeter and then back through Plymouth.
"I didn't realise how big it was until I saw it laid out on the floor of the hanger," he said.
The 62-foot cross will appear to be made of pure copper, with a head containing samples of other metals mined in Cornwall.
Most of the cross's shaft is hi-tech carbon fibre, similar to that used for an Airbus wing.
The resin will contain copper powder, so the cross will look like solid metal and will weather to a verdigris finish.
The construction is by Gate Guards, based at Newquay Airport, which normally builds full-size replicas of famous Second World War aircraft such as Spitfire and Hurricane fighters for use in films.
Travellers heading west to Cornwall will first see the cross from the top of the hill on the A38 at St Budeaux.
The project is supported by Eden Project boss Tim Smit, who said the cross could be a "very beautiful" addition to the area.