NEW figures have estimated that there have been 85,000 visits to Dream since last year.

The final result was calculated by St Helens Council and The Mersey Forest which counts the number of times the turnstile at either end of the former site of Sutton Manor Colliery has been used.

Those who champion the giant artwork, which still divides opinion more than seven years since it was created, says it is evidence that it does draw large number into St Helens, although it should be noted the turnstiles can't distinguish between repeat visitors or those simply heading to the country park fro a walk.

Gary Conley, a former miner at the site who was part of the group who brought the Dream to St Helens, said: “It is such a great place to visit and something I am truly proud of.

“Next year sees 25 years since the end of coal mining production in St Helens and Dream will never let future generations and visitors forget what this town was built on and the legacy this town has in mining.

“I think the viewing figure for Dream is just fantastic given its location and the walk to get to it, add on top of that the motorists that see it from the M62 and the Rainhill Stoops junction and the figures would be in the millions.

“What pleases me the most is the community spin-offs we have had since its conception such as fun runs, zumba, bike trails and yoga events are held there raising money for great causes.

“Both Saints Rugby club and St Helens Town football club pre-season train around it, couples have been married there, it’s a place to be on summer solstice and New Year’s Eve.

“Only last week I found out that people on dating websites have it as their first meeting as they find it a romantic and safe haven.”

The project, initially called after the town's motto Ex Terra Lucem, meaning from the earth comes light, started in 2005 as part of the Big Art Project aiming to inspire and create unique works of public art across the UK.

It later became known as Dream and was completed in June 2009.