Eton Community Association’s ambitious project to produce a Walkway for Eton took a step closer to completion yesterday when The Provost of Eton, Lord Waldegrave, kindly unveiled the first marker outside Eton College and Chapel.
The 2 mile/60 minute walk, which complements the Trust's existing Walkway in Windsor, celebrates Eton’s diverse community and rich heritage by connecting many of the town’s highlights and hopes to inspire those who live and work in Eton and those who visit. The Community especially hope that more of Windsor’s existing 7 million annual visitors will walk over the bridge because of the Walkway; these visitors make a major contribution to the local economy so the more time they spend in Eton the greater the potential benefit to the town and its 25 friendly restaurants, shops and hotels along the route. (New automatic footfall counters and planned visitor surveys will help to monitor the beneficial effects of the Walkway).
The unveiling was one of 18 permanent bronze markers which now identify the route of the Walkway and use Eton’s coat of arms, originally given to the town by the King in 1449. The 18 shields - celebrating King’s Stable Street, the Cock Pit, Porny School, Baldwin’s Bridge and Barnes Pool, Eton College, the Timbralls, Skinners’ Bridge, Herschel Observatory, the Gormley statue, the Burning Bush, Keate’s House, Natural History Museum, Museum of Antiquities, St John’s Church and the war memorial, Jubilee Square, the Brocas and Eton Boatsheds – were all installed by expert engineers Pavenet and UK Drillers.
In time the marker points will also represent story points, which will be shared through mobiles on the Trust's Commonwealth Walkway app and, like many other of our Walkways, interpreted with a free leaflet for visitors to enjoy. The Eton Walkway is already proving to be a popular educational resource.
Key local organisations - including the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Eton College and Eton Town Council - have come together to support Eton’s Walkway. It was great to have so many represented at the unveiling which was attended by more than 40 people in blazing sunshine and afterwards for tea in College's Election Hall.
The official launch of the Walkway is planned for spring 2017 by which time the app, leaflet and panel planned to be completed too.
Our special thanks to Ros Rivaz, Chair of the EtoN Community Association, George Fussey, Curator of the Eton Natural History Museum, Lord Waldegrave, Provost of The College and to all the Eton community for their fantastic support for the Eton Walkway initiative.