It might be said that there is no better marker for the southern end of the Cotswold Way than Bath Abbey. But where exactly do you start or end your walk? This is a question asked by many people, so for the past few years the Cotswold Way office worked closely with Bath Abbey and Bath and North East Somerset Council to provide a fitting work of public art to mark the start and end of England's newest National Trail.
Following months of planning and public consultation, local artist Iain Cotton was chosen to develop plans for the marker. Taking the form of a circular disc of blue limestone set within the existing paving, it was hand carved with place names from along the Cotswold Way in lettering designed specifically for the marker, surrounding a gilded acorn in the centre.
Work started on the marker in Spring 2012 and an unveiling ceremony was held at the end of October. After a guided walk along the Cotswold Way, the Abbey bells were rung in celebration followed by music and dancing by the Bath Waites and Mr Wilkin's shilling. Nearly 150 locals, walkers, families, council officials and Abbey representatives were present to see the marker finally unveiled.
We are now fundraising for a sister marker for the northern end of the Cotswold Way at Chipping Campden, please get in touch if you want to find out more or have ideas for fundraising - we currently need a further £6,000!
The foggy walk down into Bath
Mr Wilkin's Shilling
Bath Waites play as the crowd gathers
The beginning and the end...
Work in progress:
13th October: Finished! 12 days to go until the unveiling...
8th October: The final letter! 17 days to go until the unveiling...
23rd September: Five eighths and a bit - Now well over half way, it feels like completion is within grasp.
15th September: Three eighths (nearly), and still on schedule...
29th August: 40 letters down, 388 to go!
21st August: This might seem like a strange place to start, but the plan is to carve in 1/8 segments from the centre to the edge. This way Iain will only need to turn the stone 8 times, and won't be carving letters too far from vertical.
8th August: The setting out is finished. The easel is prepared. The stone is loaded. It's time to get out the chisels!
25th July: Lettering being marked out - it's easiest doing this sitting on the stone!
24th July: Full size drawing completed
12th July: Disc in workshop ready for setting out
5th July: Disc 'flamed' prior to shipping to workshop
5th July: Disc being 'flamed' to create non-slip surface
5th July: Disc cut to size