West Swindon sculpture walk – Summary

At the end of part 5 of this series, Kim and I had reached Nexus at Freshbrook, at which point we called it a day as we were ready for dinner. We’d been out for hours and had a great time but had still only visited 5 out of the 7 sculptures itemised on the tour.

Sculpture of family

The Watchers – Toothill

Next up on the list after ‘Nexus’ is ‘The Watchers’ at Toothill:  ‘Artist: Carleton Attwood. Material: Cement Fondue. Project details: Funded by R.S. McColl and E.H.Bradley Building Projects Ltd. The sculpture represents guardian figures looking over the community.’  And, as you can see in the picture, they are still there, still quietly watching.

Leaving Toothill, the tour takes you to ‘Looking to the Future’ near Ashingotn House and the West Swindon Centre. I’ve written about that one elsewhere in this blog so will leave that one behind and move on.

The document and map my friend and I used to follow this sculpture tour actually starts and ends at the Link Cente and has this to say: ‘…. you may care to look up at the murals. And what can you find out about Cassandra – an eighth sculpture – standing on her head above The Mall? Now I’m assuming this means the actual sports centre rather than the West Swindon centre itself. I went in there and saw a mural – see picture – but have no idea if it’s the one to which the tour guide refers. Moreover, I’m not the most observant of people but I haven’t seen any Cassandra.  For info, in Greek mythology Cassandra is the daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy whose beauty caused Apollo to grant her the gift of prophecy. So what happened to Cassandra I wonder? Perhaps she got fed up of being up-side down. I think I might.

mural on wall of sports centre

Mural in Swindon Link Centre

Anyway dear readers, that concludes the West Swindon sculpture tour/walk. It’s a wonderfully diverse collection of public art encompassing film stars, nursery rhymes and 21st century archeological artefacts.  As I mentioned in the first post, the tour blurb says this 5 mile walk can be done in two hours. And I’m sure it can. But this is a walk that you can make as much or as little of as you want. It’s a good activity with a family as there are play parks along the way – these are partly responsible for Kim and I taking so long about it. That and the outdoor gym behind Shaw Ridge – see ‘How the Mighty Fall’. Shaw Village Centre is approximately half-way so lunch at the Village Inn could be incorporated – or a pint at the very least!

For the cyclists out there, incorporate it into a bike ride – I haven’t looked at this in detail but I daresay the Sustrans cycle routes in the town would cover some or even all of this tour. Ditto with the Ramblers mapped walks.  Swindon has some amazing walking and cycle paths – it’s on  Sustrans Route 45 which goes from Salisbury right up to Chester – and these and other sculptures around the town must surely add another dimension?

These, and all the public art we have here in Swindon, are a wonderful thing – just amazing – and I can’t help but feel that they are under-valued, under-promoted and un-loved. Is this sculpture tour not a tourism resource being badly and sadly wasted? It’s got parks, play areas, big open spaces, pubs and even hotels along its route.  The ONLY information I could find about these sculptures as an entity was the plain pdf document which was probably put on the internet when it was invented. Why aren’t there postcards, leaflets with a map inside and some info about each sculpture and other things nearby? SBC what are you playing at?  Think of Swindon and tourism and what comes to mind? STEAM, the Outlet Village and Lydiard Park. Oh and maybe the Oasis. And that’s probably about it. But there’s all this and so few people know about it. Shame on you!

Someone put a comment on the post about ‘White Horse Pacified’ saying she’d been wanting to see that sculpture but had no idea where to look for it, but now – thanks to my blog post – she does. I rest my case.

Tuesday 13th August – Update:  I’ve just today, found out about these interesting articles – see below – relating to the West Swindon sculpture walk with some really great pictures and other bits I didn’t know about, which is all really cool. When I started doing a web search to look for info for this blog regarding Swindon’s public art I couldn’t find these – just the old PDF file that I’ve been referring to.  Never mind – I know about them now which is all that matters. It’s just great to know that there is stuff out there about it all.

A direct link to a map of the trail here.  Swindon Travel choices magazine downloadable here.

Here’s a link to a picture on the Swindon Local collection Flickr site. It’s of the poster designed by Ken White for the statue’s unveiling event.

And this one about May’s Get Walking festival and more here.  So no excuse for any of us now.

#swindonblog #swindon blog #thingstodoinswindon #thingstoseeinswindon #swindonia #swindoniablog #hiddenswindon #swindonian

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About amaatk123

Owner of AA Editorial Services - www.aaedits.co.uk #Digitalcopywriting #proofreading #writing Blog about Swindon as Born again Swindonian #BAS Joint English Hons graduate 2014 http://about.me/amaatk123

12 responses to “West Swindon sculpture walk – Summary”

  1. amaatk123 says :

    Reblogged this on Born again Swindonian and commented:

    22 February 2014

    I’m giving this post a re-blog because it features ‘The Watchers’ which happens to be Art gallery and museum’s object of the month. And also because I’ve added in a link to Swindon Local’s Flickr collection featuring a picture of the post Ken White created for the unveiling of the statue.

  2. amaatk123 says :

    Hello Jess

    Thanks for getting in contact again. I’m back at uni now so getting wrapped up in that so I know what you mean.

    I’m afraid I have no idea what these heritage trail labels are. I don’t know that area of Swindon at all. My suggestions would be to try the visit Swindon folk on the tourist information desk, Swindon Local who look after the Flickr collection or the people at Swindon Heritage magazine. All of them are on Facebook and Twitter. If you don’t use either of those you can mail me pictures of them and I can send out some feelers. I’m building relationships with all those groups now with the blog so would be happy to do that. Or, yep, write a blog post about it. Either for a blog of your own I can put it on here as a guest blog.

    How mysterious!

    Kind regards


  3. Jess Robinson says :

    I discovered your posts on the West Swindon sculpture tour while hunting for publix Swindon artworks myself, and went out today (in the rain) to visit some of them. I’m collecting things to add to OpenStreetMap (www.openstreetmap.iorg) about Swindon, and am currently on “tourism=artwork”.

    What annoys me about public projects like this is that there is (or rather presumably was) all sorts of ceremonies and whatnot when they got put up, but later they just seem to get forgotten about. I came across some numbered “Heritage Trail” path labels in Swindon the other day, and nobody seems to know what they mean.. so they toss all the docs in the bin, or is it just that nobody has digitised them? Maybe I should volunteer!

    • amaatk123 says :

      Oh Jess. Please do! I would love to get more involved with that sort of thing but am just about to go back to uni (very mature student) for my 3rd year so that will be my one and only focus for the next few months.

      You are right, I suspect the documents about all this are there somewhere but just not digitised. I’m not sure SBC care too much about all this public art. The Tom Dixon light sculpture that lived on Vilett Street has been simply scrapped when there are I know, from Twitter, people out there that would have rescued it. It’s criminal some of the things they do.

      The Heritage trail you speak of is, I think, to do with the railway village and what have you. As far as I know it’s just about still current. There’s a website about it.

      Swindon Viewpoint have some archive film on their website of one of the artists – Jon Buck. Swindon local fckr collection also have loads of photos of the public art – some of it long gone.

      Your project sounds interesting. Would you like to write a guest blog post about it? At any rate do update me with your findings. That would be really great.



      • Jess Robinson says :

        Oops.. I kept forgetting to write you a reply.. where did the rest of September go!?

        I have looked at the railway village heritage trail website, and it doesn’t seem to come anywhere near Stratton where I spotted these two “Heritage Trail” labels. One is on Highworth Road, pointing down the side of the LDS church near the Rat Trap roundabout, the other is on the path around the Kingsdown Crematorium. I shall have to go up top of the library and actually ask.. Any ideas/help appreciated.

        I ought indeed to write more blog posts about my wanderings/collecting around Swindon. I’ll try and figure one out and let you know.

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