Andover is set to welcome eight new Vikings to The Viking Longboat in the River Anton by Town Mills.
The Viking Longboat was commissioned by Test Valley Borough Council to mark the Test Valley in Bloom Millennium celebrations and commemorate the story of Olaf the Viking, whose invasion of the south coast played a significant part in Andover’s history.
Now, 22 years on, the council has commissioned a refurbishment by local metal workshop Hurstbourne Forge to install new Viking figures, a mast and a sail. The longboat will also receive a fresh coat of paint.
The new silhouette style Vikings are to be designed in Corten steel, and are based on historic characters from coins and artefacts.
Scaffolding around the piece has now been installed and work is expected to be completed by mid-August.
A consultation with the public by community partnership Andover Vision last summer saw residents give a big thumbs up to keeping the Viking Longboat – and wanting to see it refurbished.
The area surrounding Town Mills was also transformed in 2020 with new walkways, as well as the creation of the new riverside park and enhanced Pocket Park. The new park is bursting with trees and greenery to really showcase the river and the new spot has become the ideal space for people to relax, picnic, play and enjoy.
Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, councillor Phil North said: “I’m excited to see yet another improvement to this area. Andover’s Town Mills has become a great place to visit in the town since its transformation works began two years ago.
“The Viking Longboat is a much-loved landmark of Andover’s town centre and I’m thrilled that we can revitalise it for visitors to enjoy for many more years to come.”