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THIS is the long-awaited sculpture that is tipped to put Malvern and Worcestershire on the map.

Creators of the giant wellington boot say it could rival the Angel of the North and will draw visitors to the area.

The colourful sculpture was installed on the top of the Malvern Hills yesterday.

It will be officially unveiled later in the year.

Standing three metres tall, the giant welly is visible for miles around on both sides of the border, especially on a clear day.

Tourism chiefs hope it will inspire more people to visit the hills, climb to the top of British Camp and have their picture taken with the giant welly.

The boot was chosen as a symbol of the region’s rich rural history.

Originally it was going to be green, but creators Floral I Op - a design company based in London - decided to give it a colourful make-over to make it more appealing.

“We wanted to create something that really represented the area, rather than just being a gimmick,” said artist Avril Le Premiere.

“I suppose we could have gone for a walking boot, but the area is so well known for its agricultural and there are so many keen gardeners around here, we opted for a welly boot in the end.”

Walkers on the hill yesterday were treated to the first view of the sculpture.

One rambler, from Stroud, Gloucestershire, said: “To be honest we thought it was someone fly tipping again.

“But as we got closer we realised it was a sculpture.”

Dominic O’Rourke, from Ledbury, said he thought it was a great idea.

“Who wouldn’t want to be pictured alongside a giant wellington boot?” they said. “It’s boot-iful!”

Una Forth, chairman of the Malvern branch of the Friends Of Open Landscapes Society, said: “We’re absolutely delighted.

“We weren’t sure at first, but we’ve dipped our toe into the world of modern art and we’re so glad that we did.

“Seeing the giant welly there, on top of the hills, was really something. It has surpassed our best expectations.

“I’m quite sure the giant wellington boot will give Malvern and the hills a foot up on the tourist trail and will bring in visitors from far and wide.

“In the current economic climate, we must do all we can to attract more visitors and this is a definite step in the right direction.”

But not everyone has been so impressed.

Local councillor, Joe Konyu, has already called for its removal, describing the statue as “a poor silly fad”.

Worcester News: Lisa Cam, Dominic O'Rourke and Gabriel O'Rourke (3) and Winnie the dog from Ledbury (5002182)