‘Town to Sea Trail’ – Colchester to the Hythe

Client: North Sea Faring & Aldi
Artists: Andrew Rowe, David Mackie and Heather Parnell, 2007

The project celebrates the history of the Hythe, a former trading port of Colchester and encourages visitors to explore this unique area or Essex. A trail of way-markers tells the story of the port, revealing the history embedded in the surrounding landscape, strengthening the Hythe’s identity for residents and visitors to the area.

The project combined public art and place-shaping with consultation and engagement to create fourteen interpretive way-finders. An intensive period of consultation and engagement at the start of the project saw local buy-in and ownership of the new trail. The area was undergoing rapid transformation; the Hythe, once the thriving port of Colchester, now has only a few signs its maritime history remaining as new apartment buildings take the place of former warehouses and factories. The brief was to celebrate rich history of this location and encourage visitors to explore this hidden gem within the borough.

Fourteen, forged way-markers now draw visitors from Colchester town centre to Hythe Port and along the River Colne quayside. Each part of the project was developed with the local community through open days, school events, steering groups and presentations. The themes and locations were chosen by the community, which informed the designs for each of the way-markers. As you walk along the route aspects of the area are revealed, from sites
of nature conservation to the area’s social and maritime heritage.

A launch event held with local Blue Badge Guides embedded the walk within the community and as part of Colchester’s tourism offer. A map available to download or pick up from the Visitor Information Centre and venues around the town provides further information on the trail for self-guided walkers and cyclists.