Designs by a group of older people are among those to be carved into way-markers for a new art trail celebrating Eynsham’s centuries-old Wharf Stream.
Artists, schools and community groups from the Eynsham area were invited to submit designs to feature on the oak posts, which will be fitted at intervals along the newly-developed Wharf Stream Way trail.
The winning designs come from members of Eynsham Day Centre along with artist Jane Tomlinson. Both the day centre and Jane, who lives in Eynsham, will each receive a ‘prize’ of £250.
Work is now under way by Oxfordshire carver Rodas Irving to bring the images to life on the 5ft tall way-markers ready for them to be installed during autumn.
The markers are part of a joint art project between West Oxfordshire District Council and Eynsham Parish Council to create a mile-long Art Trail linking east Eynsham to the River Thames and highlighting the history of the Wharf Stream, which was used for more than 600 years for freight carrying.
Eynsham Day Centre produced drawings during their weekly meetings. They worked with local artist Alice Walker to develop their ideas, incorporating local wildlife and allotment inspired artwork, into simplified line drawings which could easily be carved into the wooden posts.
Bryan Duffield, 79, from the Day Centre said “I’ve always been a keen wildlife enthusiast and remember wading in ponds as a child. As I’ve grown older I’ve taken to visiting local nature reserves instead so I took my inspiration from local woodland animals.”
Brightly painted A1-size information panels designed by Jane and another local artist, Lorna Marrison, have also been created and will soon be put in place at the start of the trail, in Swinford Green, and end, near the Wharf Stream. The panels depict not only the route and its fascinating history, but also some of the flora and fauna that can be seen along the way.
The project has been funded by money secured by the District Council under planning rules from the developer of the 100-home Swinford Green development on the eastern edge of Eynsham, along with a grant from the Trust for Oxfordshire’s Environment (TOE).
It complements work by volunteers since 2006 to open up the Wharf Stream and has included gaining permissive rights for footpaths, installation of new entrance gates and new bridge installed by Oxfordshire County Council, seating along the trail and owl boxes as part of work to support and encourage wildlife.