WOOD carvings inspired by the nature and heritage of Southend have been surprising walkers.

Six sculptures by chainsaw artist Ben Loughrill have been installed on the Prittle Brook Greenway path between Priory Park, Southend, and Belfairs Park, Leigh, to encourage people to walk or cycle across town and onwards to Daws Heath.

Louise Morris, environmental projects manager for Southend Council and Essex Wildlife Trust, which commissioned the carvings, said: “We wanted to interpret the cycle path sopeople have an understanding of the wildlife and heritage of the area.”

Dog walkers on an evening stroll have been surprised to see a monk of the Cluniac order that founded Prittlewell Priory looming out of the dusk at the start of the path, opposite Priory Park.

A little further a pair of walking boots represent the main activity on the path before a bench with Foxes at Highfield Crescent offers the opportunity for a rest.

A Saxon Warrior stands near Westbourne Grove.

A song thrush was installed near Blenheim Crescent to represent declining species, but Southend Council has removed it temporarily after it was vandalised.

A grey squirrel squats near the entrance to Belfairs Park, in Fleming Avenue.

The £6,000 commission is part of a project to connect green areas across the district.