Nottinghamshire creation Spike on a Bike has today been revealed as the winner of the AJ Bell Tour of Britain Land Art Competition for 2022.

Giant hedgehog Spike, who was made from recycled objects including wood, plant pots and bin lids, was spotted riding his bike across the recreation grounds in Keyworth, near the start of the stage five route. The installation also featured in the race’s live TV broadcast, which is available in over 150 countries worldwide.

Ecological education collective Wild Things Keyworth and local community non-profit group Keyworth Abundance worked with local artist Liz Waddell to design Spike over a cup of coffee.

Their inspiration was to raise awareness of their ongoing project to protect hedgehogs, of which there are less than one million left in the country. Volunteers for local initiative Keyworth Hedgehog Highway have successfully drilled 150 gaps in local fences, walls and gates in the last year to help hedgehogs pass into gardens.

The judging panel, comprising AJ Bell Tour of Britain staff including race director Mick Bennett, chose this entry for its meaningful narrative, as well as its captivating appearance.

Tracey Lloyd, Keyworth Abundance representative, said: “I thought the idea of Spike on a Bike would be a great way to celebrate the wonderful Tour of Britain and get more recognition for the amazing work being done locally. By creating hedgehog highways we’re helping these wonderful creatures have more safe routes in our village. I’m thrilled that the judges liked our design and I hope it helps other places to follow Keyworth’s lead.”

Artist Liz Waddell said: “It was such a thrill when our drone went up and we saw what we had created just from a hasty sketch on an A4 piece of paper, found materials and with no experience of this kind of thing before.  We were very pleased with ourselves and felt it really got our message across.”

Jenni Manning-Ohren, Wild Things Keyworth founder, said: “We wanted to raise awareness of the wild British hedgehog nationally as they are Red Listed and the waving hand is there to remind us all that we need to do something to help reverse their fortunes. We were over the moon to get on the ITV4 live broadcast and it was awesome when [commentator] Ned Boulting asked ‘Is that a hedgehog on a bike?’”

“Thanks also to the many volunteers who came forward within the community and the school children who were fascinated to see how something on the ground could look so different and effective from way up high! We are really attached to Spike and we are hoping to get smaller versions in place around the village.”

Tour of Britain land art

Photo: the team behind Spike, this year’s competition winner

Previous winners of the competition are South Molton Farmers, South Molton, Devon (2018), Egerton Park and Walmsley Primary School, Greater Manchester (2019), and Craskins Farm, Queen’s View, Aberdeenshire (2021).

Somewhat fittingly given the inspiration for the competition came from the race’s visit to the county five years ago, this marks the first time that a Nottinghamshire-based installation has claimed the overall prize.

Councillor John Cottee, Nottinghamshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and divisional ward member for Keyworth, said: “This is absolutely brilliant news and a fantastic reward for everyone in Keyworth who was involved with producing this truly eye-catching piece of land art.

 “Our county is no stranger to rising to the challenge in this competition and no one will ever forget the remarkable bicycle made of sheep feeding created by Nottinghamshire farmer Des Allen when the Tour of Britain came here in 2017.

“Therefore, I am delighted the community of Keyworth has been recognised for showcasing its creative talents and I would like to congratulate the village on its richly deserved success.

“The award is the icing on the cake for us after what was yet again a hugely successfully stage for Nottinghamshire.”

Mick Bennett, AJ Bell Tour of Britain race director, said: “It was overwhelming to see how much time and effort that so many people have put into our National Land Art Competition this year, the level of quality of all the entries was brilliant, and it was a challenge to choose just one winner. It was fascinating to learn about community work of Keyworth Hedgehog Highway and being able to share this cause with others fills me with joy.”

Three other installations, all of which lined the route of the race’s fourth stage between Redcar and Duncombe Park in Helmsley, have been named as runners-up.

These artworks were created by the North York Moors National Park and Heritage Coast Federation schools: Fylingdales C of E VC Primary school and Hawsker-cum-Stainsacre C of E VC Primary School.

Tom Hind, Chief Executive of the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: “We were delighted to show our support for the Tour of Britain through our entry to the National Land Art Competition. This year marks 70 years since the North York Moors became a National Park and our design, created by Yorkshire-based company Sand in Your Eye, celebrated our anniversary while capturing the fun and excitement of the Tour itself. With three dedicated cycling centres, the landscapes of the North York Moors have so much to offer riders of all levels, and we hope the event has inspired more people explore the region on two wheels.”

Helen Thompson, Headteacher of Heritage Coast Federation schools, said: “We are truly honoured to have been selected as a runner-up for this year’s competition as we know that there were lots of amazing entries. Our children absolutely loved creating their designs and learning all about the Tour of Britain, so this result is just the icing on the cake. We would like to say a huge thank you to Fields of Vision for working with our children to turn the designs into a reality. We had a wonderful day with staff, parents and children working together with Fields of Vision to paint both of the fields and we hope that people have enjoyed seeing the finished creations.”

Next year’s race, the 19th edition of the modern Tour, takes place from Sunday 3 to Sunday 10 September. The 2023 competition will open in the summer.