TWELVE white obelisks will be appearing amid reedbeds and wet grasslands to celebrate the industrial heritage a nature reserve stands in.

Artist and poet Thomas Pearson will uncover his new project, Brine Field, at RSPB Saltholme with a dozen striking sculptural monuments designed to commemorate the salt found deep below the landscape.

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The Billingham-born artist uses the obelisk shape to represent the brine derricks which were used to extract the salt underground.

Saltholme is now a popular destination for birdwatchers, local families and visitors to Teesside, and is home to numerous birds species including common terns, lapwings, peregrines and water rails.

As part of the project, Mr Pearson has also written a series of poems on the site’s ‘submerged histories’ – from migrating birds to the ICI chemical works where his great-grandfather worked ‘with men in moleskin suits and masks’. A booklet of seven poems has been produced so visitors can read his words while exploring the nature reserve when the project opens on May 25.

Mr Pearson said: “I am delighted to present Brine Field in the unique landscape of RSPB Saltholme, so close to my hometown of Billingham.

“It has been fascinating to use words and sculpture to explore the site’s connections to iron, salt, ships, chemicals and now birds.

“I’ve also really enjoyed weaving in some threads from my family history, including tales from Cassel Works, Haverton Hill and Seal Sands.”