15th June: “Ave Atque Vale” sculpture

On my first visit to the WWII exhibition at the Palais des Vaches I walked down through the field to view their new sculpture “Ave Atque Vale” meaning “Hail and Farewell”, an appropriate name given the location as a embarkation area for D-Day.

“Ave Atque Vale” – Hail and Farewell

The sculpture is in the form of a woman, waving goodbye to passing craft.  According to the BBC website it was the idea of photographer Alistair Morrison who commissioned local sculptor Chris Campbell to design the piece. Commemorating D-Day it “represents the women that were left behind on our shores. Not just the Wrens, but also the families, the mums, the sisters, the daughters who were saying goodbye to very young men.” The support represents the “hedgehog” defences encountered on the D-Day beaches.

The boat shape contains gravel in which it is hoped that oystercatchers will nest.  Indeed at the moment you are not allowed nearer than one of the fields since birds have been seen flying near it.  Being a “raised beach” the idea is that the nest would be safe from predators, apparently “Oystercatcher platforms” are being used in various countries and the same technique can be used for tern nests, birds which also nest in scrapes in shingle beaches.

To photograph the sculpture the iphone was not enough and I had to go back to the car and get my “proper camera” with a long telephoto lens!  However the field from which you are presently allowed to view the sculpture also gives a good view of the extensive, old salterns.  The latter date back to around 1720-1730 (Page, 2018).  From 1700 to 2000 sea level is estimated to have risen by 28cm, it could rise another 30cm by 2090 (Jevrejeva et al. 2008). I wonder how long the salterns will last given the resulting inundation?

References: Jevrejeva et al. 2008, Recent global sea level acceleration started over 200 years ago?, Geophys.Res.Lets. 35 (8); Page E. 2018, Exbury – The Mitford family’s New Forest estate in the eighteenth century, New Forest Hertitage Centre, 329pp.