Renowned artist Paul Davies and his students created a huge map of Wales on Anglesey in the late 1980s - and now volunteers are needed to help rediscover it

People on and around Anglesey are being invited to the Llyn Alaw reservoir over two days next month to uncover the 50 square-metre map of Wales created by former Coleg Menai lecturer Paul and his students in the late 1980s.

The map of Wales created by Paul Davies and students at Llyn Alaw reservoir

The map of Wales created by Paul Davies and students at Llyn Alaw reservoir

The events, on February 2 and 3, are part of an ongoing collaboration between Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, Isle of Anglesey County Council’s Countryside and AONB Unit, and Bangor University researcher Dr Sarah Pogoda from the School of Arts, Culture and Language.

Dr Pogoda is researching the work of Paul Davies, who led the Beca art movement and is best known for his "Welsh Not" performance at the 1977 National Eisteddfod.


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Paul taught sculpture at Gwynedd Technical College, later renamed Coleg Menai, until his death in 1993. He was a founding member of the teaching staff on the Art Foundation course when it started in Bangor in 1981.

Former Coleg Menai lecturer Paul Davies

Former Coleg Menai lecturer Paul Davies

He and his students spent months building his map of Wales at Llyn Alaw, near Llannerchymedd.

Dr Pogoda said: “Paul initiated the commission from Welsh Water in 1987 in context with the then European Commission’s ‘Year of the Environment’.

“Paul, Art & Design students from Gwynedd Technical College, and local volunteers joined forces over months for building the sculpture, using only local materials. It is one of the first major works of so-called ‘land art’ in Wales and the UK.”

The sculpture has been overgrown by bramble, gorse, and undergrowth for more than a decade, but it is hoped it can be restored with the help of local volunteers.

Alwyn Roberts, from Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, said: “We’re delighted to play our part in bringing this piece of cultural heritage back to life.

“The area – and with it the sculpture – fell a bit off the public visibility since Alaw Fishery closed a number of years ago, but we hope that through our common efforts we will bring the sculpture back to be enjoyed by visitors to the site, as it is an important piece of local heritage.”

Owen Davies, AONB Community Warden at Isle of Anglesey County Council, has taken the lead for clearing the sculpture of its overgrowth and organising the volunteering event.

Owen said: “We look forward to working with local schools and communities to help revive this historic artwork at Llyn Alaw, using hand tools such as garden-loppers and bow-saws.

“This will be challenging and rewarding work given the current condition of the sculpture, so please, we need many helping hands!”

The volunteering events will take place on February 2 and 3, from 10am to 3pm. Volunteers can be reimbursed for their fuel, but organisers will also arrange lifts to and from the site.

Portable toilet and a hand washing facility will be available. Volunteers are asked to bring their own lunch.