Val Lyon's perseverance finally paid off and she got the funding from the World Heritage Enhancement Fund and B&NES Community Empowerment Fund to create the bench! Along with crowd funding, the money to create the bench is now in place, being widely supported by Combe Down Stone Legacy Trust and community group Friends of Firs Field, plus local business, including Wessex Water. It will be a really good place to show off Combe Down's heritage. As our local councillor, Cllr Cherry Beath, says:
‘I have been pleased to encourage this project from the start, and happy to put funds towards it. The Stabilisation of the Stone Mines was a huge endeavour, so this is a lovely tribute to the history of Combe Down, and the importance of the Stone Mines in the building of Classic Bath. Thanks to all who have worked so hard to get this going.’
Work is now almost complete, with the section of the original wall we found uncovered and restored by Erwood and Morris. Using Bath's famous stone donated by Bath Stone Group, the
wall has been raised and coping stones added. On them is text about the site carved by students from Bath College. Local artist Jeni Wood set to work creating a stone marker to join the other newer bricks that will form the bench.
Thank you to the team who've worked to get this piece of our local history given its proper status. As well as its global historical importance, it's a local landmark we are proud of! Especially thanks to Val Lyon. It's been great to be a small part of this project. As Professor Barry Gilbertson, Chairman of The City of Bath UNESCO World Heritage Site, explains:
‘Many people think that World Heritage in Bath only applies to the Roman and Georgian history in the city centre. Not true. It is the entire city (within the old boundary of the City Corporation in 1987, the year of our World heritage Inscription) which includes both the magnificent countryside setting and important industrial heritage such as the stone mines in Combe Down, established by the 18th Century entrepreneur, Ralph Allen. Accordingly, this innovative project is one that our World Heritage Enhancement Fund is delighted to support, as it ticks many boxes of our criteria. We hope that the seat will be well used, and the heritage appreciated, by villagers and visitors alike.’