The identity of the sculptor may already be known to some local residents, but he is publicity-shy enough to ask not to be named – “a bit like Banksy,” he said.
The idea for the Whaley Wildlife Wander first came to him in lockdown and he has been adding to it ever since, with at least 16 small metal characters now nestling in Whaley Bridge, covering 100 yards between Old Road, near the Shepherds Arms, and the historic Linear Walkway, which used to be the start of the Cromford & High Peak railway.
The sculptor said: “I’ve reached retirement now and I wanted to play about and do something which would amuse people. It’s just a bit of fun.
“There are still more to come. I just make a new one whenever I feel like it. The hedgehog took a long time because it had 250 spines, but others like the snail didn’t take very long at all.”
A board at the entrance to the path invites people to seek out the creatures, which have all been give names such as Meryl Cheep the bird, Ladders the snake, and Fosbury the grasshopper.
The sculptor said: “Everybody seems to thinks its wonderful. There are lots of grandparents along Old Road who come down when their grandchildren visit, but the adults like looking too.
“There’s always a bit of a competition to see who can find the new additions first. It’s good fun watching people’s faces as they run around searching.”