City centre benches become seats of learning under Bath BID’s urban wildlife appreciation scheme

June 10, 2024

The Bath Business Improvement District (BID) has launched a scheme to celebrate the city’s wildlife by illustrating it on the recently restored public benches near the Abbey.

The Biodiversity Bench Project includes 21 images of creatures ranging from butterflies and frogs to birds painted onto the seats in Kingston Parade, the square between Abbey Churchyard and York Street, pictured.

The BID said the initiative had been inspired by the yearly Britain in Bloom competition and the ‘awe-inspiring’ annual Festival of Nature, which is started in Bath and Bristol last weekend.

The scheme, a collaboration between the BID and Bath & North East Somerset Council, Avon Wildlife Trust and the Festival of Nature, aims to illustrate the environmental importance of the creatures as well as their role in Bath’s ecosystem.

The illustrations, created by BID office and projects coordinator Miriam Zaccarelli, also include foxes, otters, peregrine falcons and Chalkhill Blue butterflies – an important species for the Bath region as they are primarily found on the chalk and limestone hills of Southern England.

BID CEO Allison Herbert said: “We are so proud to have transformed the benches outside the historic Abbey into inviting resting places for visitors.

“But that’s not all. The council has granted us permission to sprinkle a magical trail of tiny creatures throughout the area.

“This project embodies Bath BID’s commitment to a vibrant city centre where vitality and biodiversity converge.

“As you explore, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for our beautiful city’s natural wonders.”

Bath jewellery business Nicholas Wylde is sponsoring a trial in July and August for children to match the designs on the benches with their pairs in its shop windows using a competition book that can be collected from the BID office on York Street.

Bath BID was set up in 2011 to keep the city centre area safe and clean. 

An independent and not-for-profit, business-led initiative, it has since set up a number of schemes including a trade waste partnership, the introduction of rangers and welcome ambassadors and the Bath Gift Card scheme.

Following a second renewal ballot in 2021, the BID secured a contract to operate until 2026.

It is one of around 330 BIDs across the UK and Ireland.


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