I am a freelance writer, living in Bath with my wife and son.
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Today marked the launch of a new art and sculpture trail, that will decorate Bath from June to October this year. It is the Minerva Owl Trail and it comes 10 years after the massively successful King Bladud's Pigs Trail, which was the first of its kind in the UK. 100 giant owl sculptures will be created, using bespoke designs dreamed up by local artists. Every one of the owls will be sponsored by local businesses, and several Bath schools shall also create owl masterpieces.
Why owls, and what's to see?
Owls have been chosen in tribute to the Roman history of the city. When the Roman settlers created the world famous Bath spa pools, they dedicated the spa to the Goddess Minerva. She has since held a special significance for Bath, and is nearly always pictured holding an owl, which was her favoured animal. At the Baths today, Amelia Watt, 2017's Miss Bath, dressed as Minerva and held a little owl from a local wildlife charity. This wonderful scene marks the beginning of five months preparation for the trail, which will open in June.
In the spirit of previous sculpture trails in Bath, all 100 owls will be placed at key public locations throughout the city. Each one will be painstakingly and beautifully decorated by local artists and celebrities, with a focus on Bath's rich history and culture. Visitors are expected to flock to the city in an attempt to spot and photograph all 100 of the owls. In 2010, there was a lion sculpture trail, and this became hugely popular for treasure hunts and hen weekend challenges. Expect to find owls peeking out from shop doorways, roosting next to key Bath landmarks and sunbathing in parks and public places.
Here is a short clip from the 2008 King Bladud's trail, inspired by the legend of a mythical King, who is said to have founded Bath. It shows how passionate and involved that the city becomes when there is a trail to be followed. Many of the pigs are still proudly displayed in the city, in gardens and local businesses.
I love living in Bath, and feel proud that my city welcomes visitors from around the world, every single year. This trail will not only create a vibrant and exciting experience, but will also culminate in a charity auction, in which every owl will be sold, and the profits given to four local charities. It is going to be a wonderful experience, and I am already very excited about it. It is completely free, and therefore genuinely open to all Bath visitors. I cannot wait to enjoy it with my family, and watch my son tearing around Bath trying to find all 100 works of art. If you are planning on coming to Bath this Summer, then why not take in this special trail. Go on, be wise!