Find all the Wylde Creatures Of Bath

If you have paid a visit to Bath Abbey recently, you might have noticed a small painting of a butterfly, or bird, or maybe a bee, on one of the benches. These are part of a trail of 24 ‘Wylde Creatures’ hidden around the benches by the Abbey, and in Broad Street Place Community Garden.

This started as a project to refurbish the benches by Bath Abbey, and in planning the painting of all the benches, the idea to include a discreet trail of animals as a point of interest, an activity for children and a celebration of Bath’s biodiversity was born.

Preparing the benches

As soon as B&NES granted permission, the BID rangers, with help from some volunteers from the Apex Hotel, cleaned and painted the benches black. The team from the Apex arrived at 7.30am one morning to make sure the benches would be neatly painted and dry in time for the daily crowds of enthusiastic visitors to the area.

Apex Hotel volunteers paint benches early in the morning

Painting the creatures

Meanwhile, Bath BID team member Miriam was designing little animal paintings in her black sketchbook, using acrylic pens to achieve bold colours on the black background. Avon Wildlife Trust provided some advice and 21 animals that can be found in the Bath area – including some endangered species like the Great Crested Newt and Horseshoe bat – were chosen to be hidden on the benches. The B&NES Regeneration team requested a few more for the newly developed community garden at Broad Street Place, so the total became 24.

As Miriam painted the animals early in the morning before the benches were full of people, children came to watch on their way to school, and tourists stopped to take pictures. Gradually, over the course of several early mornings, the mix of mammals, birds and insects – with a mollusc, a fish and an amphibian – all began to appear. They were in place in time for the Festival of Nature in which all things natural and biodiverse in Bath were celebrated.

Celebrating Biodiversity

As Allison Herbert, Bath BID CEO 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.’

Generating Support

Allison’s enthusiasm for the project sparked interest from Nicholas Wylde of Wylde Jewellers who offered some generous sponsorship. This support enabled the expansion of the project into the ‘Wylde Creatures of Bath Trail’ with all 24 animals also hidden in shop windows around Bath. The BID’s marketing manager Alison then created a beautifully arranged booklet with information and illustrations on each creature.

Wylde Creatures of Bath Competition

We are delighted that the trail launches this week, and the brilliant little pocket-sized booklet includes a page to match all creatures to their shops, as well as a drawing competition. Prizes include art materials; a relaxing sound bath at the Soul Spa; a generous hamper from Whittard; and the star prize from Wylde Jewellers who will create a silver pendant engraved with the winning drawing.

What started as some simple street furniture refurbishment has developed into a far reaching collaborative project with the Festival of Nature in June, the Summer Sundays activities across July and August, and an innovative street art project as part of our preparations for Bath BID in Bloom.

Booklets are available from the Bath BID office on 11a York Street (just around the corner from the Abbey) and all the details are here.

Published in
2 July 2024
Last Updated
2 July 2024