To mark the centenary of BB’s birth, members of the BB Society, headed by Susan Edwards, worked with the assistance of Northamptonshire County Council (NCC) to construct the BB Trail in a beautiful setting in BB’s native Northamptonshire countryside at Brixworth Country Park, some four miles north of Northampton itself. Susan Edwards conceived the idea that here was the ideal place to erect a lasting tribute to mark BB’s Centenary Year and to confirm his status as a noble man of letters.
The concept of wooden sculptures featuring the four ‘Little Grey Men’ gnomes was designed by Bryan Holden, on behalf of the BB Society, and put forward for consideration by the Brixworth Park authorities. Funding and support was given by The Local Heritage Fund, a National Grant Scheme helping local groups to investigate, explain and care for their landscape, landmarks, traditions and culture. Developed and run by the Countryside Agency, the Local Heritage Fund is funded by The Heritage Lottery and the Nationwide Building Society. Financial assistance for the project was also given by the Ernest Cook Trust.
A fun family day can be had following a clearly marked trail where children and grown-ups can see the eight carved wooden panels that tell the story of the brother gnomes, Dodder, Baldmoney and Sneezewort - the last gnomes in England - and you can really imagine that you are right in the setting of the books, wandering along the Folly Brook searching for their mischief making fourth brother, Cloudberry. You can even come face-to-face with a life sized carving of each of the gnomes.
Along the way you can enjoy a glimpse into BB’s world surrounded by depictions of the wildlife so eloquently described in his books.
The Little Grey Men trail leaflet and an audio tour guide are available from the Brixworth Visitor Centre and a decorative information panel, in front of the Willow Tree Café, marks the start of the trail. The whole project is a fine tribute to BB’s most enduring creations.