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Towcester Rock Snake given new home

Community, safety and emergencies

20 April 2022

Those behind the Towcester Rocksnake pose at the installation with WNC Cheif Executive and her dog RalphCaption: (Right to left) Ralph (on lead), Anna Earnshaw, mural artist Sarah Hodgkins of Charlotte Designs Potterspury, Karyna Clifford and daughter Katheryne.

The organic display of community spirit which emerged during the Covid-lockdown and became known as the Towcester Rock Snake, has been given a new home.

Before lockdown ‘Love Rocks’ was a common pastime throughout the country which saw children decorate stones, sometimes with greetings, which they would then hide for someone else to find, photograph, share on Facebook and then re-hide.

During the Covid-lockdown that morphed into the Towcester Rock Snake, with messages dedicated to the NHS and support for the wider community, designs of favourite animals and superheroes, and messages to lost loved-ones.

Around 1,600 stones were decorated and placed along the spiral walkway around Bury Mount, the remains of a Norman motte and bailey castle in the centre of Towcester. So many the Snake reached the top and began to loop back on itself.

However, the stones were not fixed in place and began to be moved around so the decision was made to clear them and store them away until a permanent home could be found.

Potterspury mural artist Sarah Hodgkins was commissioned to design and install the snake and a selection of stones have now been cemented into place on the Towcester Watermeadows, a short distance from Bury Mount.

Towcester resident Karyna Clifford took charge of the stones after they were cleared and worked with West Northamptonshire Council’s Communities Team to find a location and funding.

Mrs Clifford said: “Joan Tear has to be credited for bringing ‘Love Rocks’ to Towcester and has been instrumental to the Rock Snake.

“During lockdown, when my little ones were missing their friends and family, we painted some rocks of encouragement and placed them at the Mount with an unpretentious handmade sign to see if anyone else would engage. And it helped us all to feel connected to the community.

“As each day passed, we walked through the snake of rocks climbing up Bury Mount on our hour of exercise and found more reassurance that we were all, as a community, hopeful and waiting for better days when the world would make sense again.”

WNC Chief Executive Anna Earnshaw visited with her dog Ralph after the installation and said: “There were no meetings, no press releases, one child thought it would be a good idea and the Rock Snake just grew from there.

“I’m very pleased the council was able to help find a home for this poignant display of togetherness that I know exists within all our communities in West Northamptonshire.”

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