Artist Steve Messam stands on the bridge. Photo: Greg Stephenson

Artist Steve Messam stands on the bridge. Photo: Greg Stephenson

Walkers in the Lake District have the chance to view an artistic addition to the landscape.

The bright red PaperBridge straddles a beck in Grisedale at the foot of England’s third highest mountain Helvellyn.

The bridge has been installed as part of the Lakes Culture project by artist Steve Messam. It forms part of the Lakes Ignite spring arts programme.

PaperBridge has been the dream of the Teesdale-based artist Steve Messam for more than three years, and continues his series of ambitious temporary installations in rural landscapes.

Project organisers said: “As with previous works, PaperBridge is a bold contemporary statement in a conserved environment and bound with layers of narrative about landscape, whilst remaining accessible to all.

“The artist brings with him over 10 years’ experience in delivering large-scale projects in the landscape and an international reputation.”

The bridge is totally free-standing. No glue, screws, bolts, fixings or supports have been used to hold the structure together. The bridge has been constructed using more than 4.2 tonnes of bright red paper, cut into 22,000 sheets, to create a structure 5m in length, with a 4m span over the river and standing at 2m from water to top of arch.

The bridge’s gabions are filled with more than 3 tonnes of stone from the gravel beds in the river.

The paper was made in one long piece and measured over 10 miles and was been specially made by James Cropper at their Burneside Mill, near Kendal. Cropper’s is the only paper mill in the world capable of producing paper of such vibrancy and colour to the strict environmental standards this piece required, organisers said.

Steve Messam said: “The Lake District has a long and important history in the perception of landscape and aesthetics.

“PaperBridge is part of this continuing and evolving legacy and I’m so pleased it forms part of Lakes Culture’s spring programme Lakes Ignite.

PaperBridge stands in Grisedale in the shadow of Helvellyn. Photo: Greg Stephenson

PaperBridge stands in Grisedale in the shadow of Helvellyn. Photo: Greg Stephenson

“The piece is a temporary artwork made for and about the landscape of the Lake District, based on local stone bridge construction dating back to Roman times. On an aesthetic level the piece acts as a focal point within a vast open landscape, the bright red colour drawing the eye and interfering with the natural environment, while at the same time creating compositional balance with the green backdrop and flow of water.”

The project organisers said: “Paper is a simple material made from wood pulp and water. The intensity of colour used in the bridge contrasts with the verdant landscape making a bold statement of form and design.

“Alongside this the materials used have a resonance with the natural environment and the construction of the bridge also reflects local architectural forms, specifically pack horse bridges found throughout the area. All of the paper used in PaperBridge will be recovered and returned to the Burneside Mill for recycling into new paper once the project ends. This transparent cycle is part of the overall environmental narrative of the piece.”

The bridge will be in place between two parallel paths in the Grisedale Valley, near Patterdale, until 18 May. The bridge is a two-mile walk from Patterdale, and can be found at grid reference NY 362 144.