Following the huge success of the Gromit Unleashed trail in Bristol, 31 decorated dragons have been placed in locations around Taunton, Wellington, Wiveliscombe and other villages in the borough of Taunton Deane.
The aim of the Taunton Deane Dragon Trail is to raise money for good causes in the area, create footfall in the towns by attracting shoppers, visitors and tourists and, most importantly, provide some summer fun for families.
The project is led by Taunton Deane Mayor for 2014/5, Cllr Dave Durdan, who said: “This fabulous venture has really got people in Taunton Deane fired up!
“Families are already flocking to our towns to hunt for dragons and trail guides are selling like hotcakes. We have already met people who have travelled quite a way just to take the trail so we know news is spreading far and wide.
“It’s proving great fun and we hope it will also raise thousands of pounds for worthy causes in the area.”
The Dragons, made by professional artist Tim Hobbis, who was the creator of the models used in Newport’s Super Dragons 2 trail, are about five feet high, including their plinth. They will be in position from until September 14.
Somerset Community Foundation will be helping to administrate money raised from the project, which will be distributed to community projects in Taunton Deane.
Artwork for the dragons were either commissioned by sponsors or selected from entries into a public art competition run in partnership with Taunton Deane’s local paper, the Somerset County Gazette.
Businesses have also supported the trail through sponsorship of the dragons.
Once the trail has been completed, the Dragons will go on display between September 29 and October 11 as part of the Quartz Arts Festival held annually at Queen’s College in Taunton. They will then be auctioned in the school’s Queen’s Hall on October 12 to raise money for community projects in Taunton Deane.
Chris Alcock, headmaster at Queen’s College, said: “We are delighted to support the Taunton Deane Dragon Trail and really look forward to it becoming part of the Quartz Festival.
“Community events such as these are so important in bringing together the people of Somerset and offering families and local businesses the opportunity to be involved in their community.”
Juliette Dickinson, managing director of Tone Leisure added. “Tone Leisure is proud to support the Taunton Deane Dragon Trail initiative because it not only brings the community together but it gives us a chance to celebrate our heritage in a fun and creative way. “
A website and app have been created to help publicise the trail and there is plenty of dragon activity on the trail’s social media channels too: @Deane_Dragons and facebook.com/dragonsdeane
Trail maps are on sale at a number of locations including Taunton Tourist Information Centre in Paul Street, Taunton; the Museum of Somerset, in Taunton; Wellington Community Office, Wellington; and Wellington Sports Centre, Wellington. Details of other outlets can be found on the trail website, http://www.deanedragons.co.uk
Dragons were chosen for the trail after the creature was adopted as part of the winning design on Somerset’s new flag. The emblem celebrates Taunton’s place as the County Town.