He’s back!

Bath’s Head of Heritage Services, Stephen Bird has completed his sponsored walk to raise money for the Roman Bath’s Archway Project – a multi-million pound undertaking to develop educational and information facilities.

Though its supported by a generous Heritage Lottery grant there is match-funding involved and that’s where Stephen has been helping to boost funds through using his own two feet.

He’s been on a solo, sponsored trek of 105 miles that has taken him from the World Heritage city of Bath to two more World Heritage sites.

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Stephen Bird at Stonehenge.

And, having now walked to  Stonehenge and across to Avebury, he is back in Bath.

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As Head of Heritage Services, Stephen is deeply involved in the Archway Project.

A range of ornately-decorated nearby buildings will be brought back into use with the help of  Heritage Lottery funding.

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However, this also involves ‘match-funding’ and Stephen came up with this novel way of doing his own personal bit to help.

As he arrived back in Bath Stephen Bird said: “Fortunately the weather was relatively kind to me. I took a route of my own devising along public roads, lanes, farm tracks, bridleways, byways, footpaths and canal towpaths to reach Stonehenge, and then Avebury, before completing the triangle back to Bath.

I’d like to thank everyone who has sponsored me; so far £2500 has been pledged with donations still coming in. Every penny will go via the Roman Baths Foundation towards the World Heritage Centre.”

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This was Stephen setting off from Bath on Monday.

The World Heritage Centre which will be free to visit, will be dedicated to explaining and interpreting the World Heritage site and is part of the wider Archway Project involving the conversion of former Victorian spa buildings in Swallow Street and York Street, next to the Roman Baths.

Visitors will be able to discover more about Bath’s attributes of Outstanding Universal Value: the hot springs, Roman remains, Georgian architecture, Georgian town planning, the social setting of the Georgian spa town and the city’s natural landscape setting.

It will highlight the uniqueness of Bath and equip people to go out and explore Bath’s exceptional historic sites, promoting greater understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the city’s internationally significant heritage

The Roman Baths Learning Centre will be a fully accessible, state-of-the-art centre where school children will participate in exciting hands-on sessions with Roman artefacts and where projects and activities will be run for members of the local community.

It will be linked to the Roman Baths via an underground tunnel.

There will be an Investigation Zone set among Roman remains, where children will be able to explore and record archaeological materials, and an excavation area where they will be able to unearth replica Roman objects. This space will be used for family events at weekends and during the school holidays.

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An artists impression of how the new Archway Project might look.

The project will also open up areas of Roman remains that have never before been open for regular public access, including a rare laconicum (sauna) and an exercise courtyard, revealing fascinating new aspects of the ancient site.

To donate to Stephen Birds sponsored walk visit:

http://mydonate.bt.com/events/worldheritagetriangle/478333 and, if you are a UK taxpayer, you can add Gift Aid too.

If you want to know more about the World Heritage Centre project please visit https://www.bathworldheritage.org.uk/worldheritagecentre