The COVID-19 pandemic lockdown led to a new flurry of public expressions of gratitude towards the NHS and keyworkers, complementing the viral spread of a host of new signs and icons to enforce social distancing and other regulatary dimensions of government lockdown restrictions. Painted pebbles were a particular medium, culminating in walking trails, but also wayside shrines.

One particular example was Alyn the Snake at Alyn Waters Country Park, Wrexham.

It was established, grew, its shape was adapted, and finally, sadly, it disappeared.

Where to?

Well, it seems that the country park at Alyn Waters relocated it to the mini traffic island by the visitor centre, already a locus for celebrating nature conservation and the country park’s rehabilitation of an industrial landscape. Now the stones of Alyn the Covid Snake enwrap this pre-existing iron sculpture depicting bugs and plants, welding emotive expressions of affinity to the NHS and local key workers to the playground, visitor centre and the main car park and embarkation point of most of the possible walks around the woodland and pasture as well as along the River Alyn itself.

The snake is now a semi-permaent memorial dimension of this post-industrial landscape, commemorating workers, but also the pandemic itself.