A metal sculpture has mysteriously appeared on the site of Exmouth’s Rusty Pole.

The piece of artwork was spotted on the Maer a few days ago by a dog walker who is also a member of the Rusty Pole Society – a Facebook group set up by fans of the original structure.

The pole shot to fame this year, starting when local historian Mike Menhenitt – also a member of the society - wrote a spoof April Fool's Day article for the Journal claiming the structure had mythical significance and magical properties. In fact it was a ventilation shaft for a sewage pipe, put there by South West Water but no longer in use.

The Society then placed a blue ‘heritage’ plaque at the site, commemorating the installation of the Rusty Pole in 1909.

Exmouth Journal:

Later in April the pole was removed by South West Water, who said East Devon District Council had raised concerns that it was a safety hazard. This was condemned as ‘an act of historical vandalism’ by the Rusty Pole Society.  The quirky story hit the national headlines and was featured on Have I Got News For You.

A few weeks later another plaque was installed on the site, with the inscription: "Here once stood the Rusty Pole, 1909 to 2023. The tall but silent type gave many a smile and has left many a broken heart.”

Earlier this month, both plaques disappeared, and the Rusty Pole Society appealed for whoever had taken them to put them back.

Now, it seems that someone has decided to comfort the Society with a Banksy-style anonymous overnight art installation.

Mike Menhenitt said: “A few days ago a beautiful rusty sculpture suddenly appeared on the site of Exmouth's Rusty Pole on The Maer to commemorate where that iconic part of Exmouth's history once stood, until cruelly torn down in an act of historical vandalism by South West Water and East Devon District Council.

“A fitting tribute from an unknown artist that the Rusty Pole Society and the people of Exmouth would like to say a big thank you to, whoever you are.”

He has nicknamed its creator Polesy, and added: “We live in hope that the Rusty Structure survives!”