It took a herd of rhino to introduce me to some interesting places in my own city of Southampton that I never knew existed. Marwell Zoo near Southampton release the rhinos in to the City Centre a few weeks back and they will not be rounded up until 22nd September 2013.
The rhino are all static and have been placed in parks, streets and shopping centres around the centre of Southampton. Each rhino is unique having been decorated by artists community groups and schools.
Starting at the town pier where the Isle of Wight ferry docks the trail leads you through the old walled city of Southampton where I discovered among other things that the Mayflower actually sailed from Southampton to the New World but had to turn back and put in at Plymouth. I also learned, from a wall plaque that Jane Austen lived in Southampton for some time.
The trail led me around the old walls and ship building yards then in to the old city where there are several old buildings still surviving.
The Tudor House and Knot garden is just one of these another is the ruin of Holy Rood Church left as a war memorial much like Coventry Cathedral.
The rhino trail took me through Bargate, the landward entry to the city and after a quick loop through the West Quay shopping centre headed out to Southampton’s award winning city centre parks.
The trail takes a detour around the civic buildings before once again finishing in the parks.
I discovered that Lord Palmerston was MP for South Hampshire and has a park all to himself. Another famous Southampton resident was the prolific hymn writer Isaac Watts who also has a park named after him. In east Park there are several gardens including a rose garden, a rock garden and a mosaic garden in which I found a rhino.
In the Civic Centre complex I discovered the Art Gallery and the new Sea City Museum opened for the centenary of the Titanic.
In a future post I will detail more of what there is to see and do in my own city but for now I just enjoyed walking with rhino and discovering not only outdoor art but some hidden gems and green spaces I never knew existed. It has inspired me to explore Southampton more thoroughly… Who knows what other surprises await.
The Go! Rhinos Trail is to raise awareness of the plight of the rhino and to raise money by auctioning them off after the event to raise money for two local charities and for the conservation work of Marwell Wildlife. In addition to all the large rhinos there are many small rhinos along the trail decorated by local schools. The sculptures will be removed on 22nd September 2013 but will reappear at Marwell Zoo from 10th – 14th October 2013.