Hilton New Milestones – Alain Ayers

The Hilton New Milestones resulted from a collaboration between two commissioning groups – Hilton Parish, with members of the community and Parish Councillors, and Cleveland Arts, the countywide Arts Development Agency. New Milestones is an ‘arts in rural areas’ initiative from Common Ground – a broad-based environmental and arts organisation in London. The project was developed and carried out over a two year period and was completed in October 1989. The essential philosophy behind the commission was for the local community and artist to work together to decide upon the way in which the artworks would evolve, which had, in turn, to relate to the locality, and reflect what was significant or important to the community.

In November 1988, Alain Ayers began to make a series of works in local stone – old farm gateposts and new stone from a nearby quarry at Stainton. The works are linked both through position – they mark boundaries and footpaths; and imagery – related to the landscape; agricultural history, flora and fauna, church art; seasonal change. The eight pieces of sculpture are Alain’s response to the place, the people and history of Hilton. It acknowledges that the countryside is in a state of transition and draws attention to why the countryside looks as it does and the role communities have.

Hilton Wheel

Central to the village, and all the other works, this is the size of a cartwheel. It refers to several things; Alain’s French grandfather, a wheelwright; a wooden cart found in the old stables and smithy which were part of the village ancestry and demolished during the time of the project for a new house.
On the wheel are carved nine images. In the centre is a combined Christian and Celtic Cross – taken from an embroidered image on the Church altar cloth. Arranged around this are: a formalised ram’s head; birds’ feet patterns seen in the winter snow as it reflected the stars above – it can also be seen as a snow-flake crystal., an oak-leaf cluster; a collection of spring and summer flowers; intertwined horse- shoes; a fish or flame motif taken from the fragment of medieval wall painting in the church; a wheel which refers to agricultural machinery. The carvings express the cycle of the year through the changing seasons.

Three Bowls

Placed as a Northern Boundary Marker on the footpath to Maltby. Three bowls, one a crescent, another a full circle, the centre bowl a circle with a hoof carving. Along each stone are interlocking horseshoes which refer to the Dales Ponies kept in adjacent fields. A place to rest where also the industry of Teesside is visible in the distance.

Sheep Bench

At the top to the valley at Brewsdale, looking out to the Cleveland Hills. These carved gate posts have an animal stillness: one becomes a ram, the other a ewe, indicating the farmer’s links with sheep rearing.

Brewsdale Stepping Stones

On the footpath across the beck. The Southern Parish Boundary and the border between Cleveland and North Yorkshire. Each stone is carved with images of leaves which were drawn by children from the parish, a connection with their future.

Roadside Markers

All stones placed on the Parish Boundaries, each with a carved image of a metal agricultural implement.


Yarm Road to West


Maltby Road to North


Seamer Road to South

To find Hilton

A19 from North

Turn off for Yarm (A174) then follow signs for Yarm (A1045, A1044). Also signed for Teesside Airport. Turn left off A1044 at Fox Covert Pub for Hilton.

A19 from the South

Turn off for Yarm (A67), through Kirklevington and then turn right at roundabout on to A1044 (signed for Thornaby, Middlesbrough, Redcar). Turn right off A1044 at Fox Covert Pub for Hilton.

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