Youngsters have used graffiti to transform a bridge linking Hampstead Heath and Gospel Oak.

Last week, the HeathBridge Art Project, run by HVH Arts, saw children aged eight to 18 spray paint the pathway leading from Savernake Road, as part of a charity scheme to encourage creativity and community engagement.

The murals feature two steam trains made up of characters and creatures imagined by the children, drawing on the mystical and the magical.

A type of tropical garden – similar to the themes and adventures of Alice in Wonderland – is also depicted, with further plans to create a biodiversity area that attracts local wildlife.

Actor Damian Lewis, an ambassador for HVH Arts, paid a visit and created a work of his own, called "Neville the Starfish".

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The charity's CEO, Debbi Clark, told the Ham&High: “The idea is that the community is the children and families, they all have an input into what they’re doing. So they then get pride of where they are and a sense of what they're doing.

“If you were stood here for an hour you’d see little kids going 'I did that mummy', and then they're all coming to take pictures of them.

“So they own it and take ownership of their work.”

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Debbi said a lot of thought and preparation went into the conception of the bridge, before the project came to life.

“What we do is teach the young people and children the art of graffiti, so rather than they think 'oh put my name on it, put my initials on it', we make a concept and give it context, and then the children go and sketch at the pop-up gallery in Queen’s Crescent," the CEO said.

“They start with our artists over there and they learn stencilling and spraying and fade outs, so they learn that meaning, and they then sketch out their ideas so they can learn structures, so that they know how it can work as a piece of art.”

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The bridge mural has been part funded by Camden Council. Sam Sure has acted as the main graffiti artist, with support from Louise Adjei, Iyla Shah and Emily Hollingsby.

HVH Arts is behind similar graffiti at the Mother café and the London School of Mosaic in Gospel Oak.

Other artworks in Lismore Circus and in Queen’s Crescent were delivered by the charity.

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