Floral trails and fascinating tales

Two city horticulture and heritage guides are set to keep people on their trails this summer.

Durham County Council, as part of Durham City’s entry into the Royal Horticultural Society’s Northumbria in Bloom competition, has produced two guides promoting the city’s environmental and historical places of interest.

The Durham Floral Trail includes the city’s Botanic Gardens, Pelaw Woods, Crook Hall Gardens, Flass Vale Woods and the renovated Wharton Park, to name a few.

Meanwhile, the Durham Heritage Sculpture Trail tells the fascinating tales and facts of how Durham’s sculptures have evolved over time.

Fourteen places of interest feature in the floral trail, including reference to the eagerly anticipated, and impressive, floral 3D Bishops Mitre and floral 3D St Cuthbert’s Cross – which has returned to the city after receiving positive feedback in 2016.

Fifteen places of interest feature in the heritage sculpture trail – all of which are free to access.

Of note, ‘The Durham Ox’ sculpture located at The Racecourse, portrays the amusing fable of how monks chose Durham (or Dunholm) as the final resting place for St Cuthbert’s remains.

Another article tells the fascinating origins of the ‘Charley Cross’, which historians believe may have been constructed during the plague (1334-1354) as an exchange point for provisions between country and towns people. A small hollow in the stone stored vinegar to sterilise coins used to pay for goods.

Also, the trail tells the story of how the statue of Neptune, located in the Market Place, was created to represent an ambitious plan in 1729 (which never came to fruition) to turn Durham into an inland sea port, linked by canal, connecting the Tyne and Wear rivers.

More recently, the memorial seat commemorating the centenary of the Battle of the Somme also features in the trail. The seat pays tribute to the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) soldiers who fell in battle.

Both leaflets aim to encourage community engagement and involvement in the city’s history and future environmental attractions to support Durham’s bid for successive golds in Northumbria in Bloom.

Oliver Sherratt, Durham County Council’s head of direct services, said: “The Durham in Bloom Floral and Heritage Sculpture Trails showcase the city’s captivating horticultural and historical heritage in an appealing way.

“From woodland walks and graceful gardens to the roaming riverbanks and cityscape sculptures, there’s something for everyone, of all ages, to enjoy.

“We especially enjoyed welcoming the impressive floral 3D Bishops Mitre installation to the Market Place and the floral 3D St Cuthbert’s Cross feature at Palace Green again, so look out for these on your trails.”

Durham County Council, in partnership with the Durham in Bloom group, is leading on Durham City’s representation in the Small City category of the 2017 Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Northumbria in Bloom competition.

Last year, the city struck gold and were crowned overall category winner in the regional Northumbria in Bloom ‘Champion of Champions’ category as well as winning the Bob Wooley award, named after the founder of the competition.

Durham City also achieved gold in the national RHS Britain in Bloom competition – representing Northumbria in the ‘Champion of Champions’ category.

Results of the Northumbria in Bloom competition will be announced in September.

Pick up a copy of the Floral Trail and Heritage Sculpture Trail at:

  • Durham Town Hall, Market Place, Durham City, DH1 3NJ
  • Durham Customer Access Point/library, Millennium Place, Durham City, DH1 1WA
  • Wharton Park, Framwellgate Peth, Durham, DH1 4FJ
  • Durham County Council Headquarters, County Hall reception, Durham City, DH1 5UQ
  • Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, 7 Owengate, Durham, DH1 3HB

Printed copies are limited and subject to availability and people are, alternatively, advised to download the Floral Trail or Heritage Sculpture Trail at http://www.durham.gov.uk/inbloom

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