‘Sultan the Pit Pony’: 200m Sculptural Earthwork in Wales by Mick Petts


This prancing pony is a 200 metre long raised-earth artwork by Mick Petts that was completed over a period of 3 years. The earthwork is a homage to the pit pony, the last of which was retired in 1999. These animals were used to haul containers of coal in underground coal mines, and the locals later dubbed Mick Petts work ‘Sultan’ after a particularly famous local pit pony.

Close-up of the Neck Portion of the Sultan Earthwork

View of Sultant Earthwork and Neighbouring Caerphilly

The raised-earth sculpture was completed in 1999 but artist Mick Petts has since designed a number of other Animalia-inspired structures and earthworks including a boar shaped amphitheatre as well as a timber bird observatory building resembling a Marsh Harrier.

Martin Mere Marsh Harrier Bird Observatory by Mick Petts

60,000 Tons of Coal Shale Mounds Forming a Pit Pony Sculpture

‘Sultan the Pit Pony’ isn’t purely for aesthetics though, this sculptural earthwork also serves a purpose: it is adjacent to Parc Penallta and is intended to act as a windbreaker for the events arena.

Pedestrians Walking in the Shade of Sultant the Pit Pony Earthwork

This kind of landmark is of course inspired by the ancient white horses emblazoned on hillsides across Britain. However its worth noting that these forms were produced by removing the top layer of soil and infilling the trenches with white chalk, whilst Mick Petts earthwork is additive, being composed of mounds of coal shale rock — 60,000 tons worth! Petts’ pony is of course also a lot more elaborate than the Uffington White Horse, and modern computer technology, machinery, as well as of course the ability to fly and see the earthwork from above no doubt helped.

Ridged Mane of Raised-Earth Artwork Pony

These photographs were captured by Steve Brockett, an aerial photographer who relies on paragliding for a lot of his work.

Sultan the Pit Pony by Mick Petts

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  1. john d millington

    this has so good that i must go to the park and see it all would make a good holiday .

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