‘Skaters’ tarnish �30k Coleridge memorial


Skateboarders have been blamed for damaging a �33,000 memorial to Ottery St Mary’s most famous son.

They are thought to be responsible for scratches on the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poetry stones in Canaan Way.

The 70-metre version of Kubla Khan is though to be the longest outdoor line of poetry in the world, and was officially unveiled in early June.

But since then marks have appeared on the surface, apparently caused by skateboarders using the curbstones as a take off ramp.

This week Coleridge Memorial Project secretary John Pilsworth was philosophical about the damage.

Although it was “disappointing, to say the least” he said they inevitably had to accept a bit of “wear and tear” on an outdoor memorial.

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He said they thought the damage was caused not long after the 68 stones were officially opened on June 4. Since then he said a new skateboard park had opened near the King’s School, so hopefully the youngsters would go there now.

“Although it is a little further from the town for the kids to go, hopefully they will want to use the purpose-built facility now and this will not be an on-going problem,” he said.

“It is disappointing but you have to be realistic. These things do happen in the open air – with the rain and bird droppings, mud and grass. The students from King’s School have been brilliant helping us to clear off the stones.”

Mr Pilsworth added that the unique memorial was already proving to be a big draw for visitors.

“It is the first substantial memorial to Samuel Taylor Coleridge in the town and is attracting people to come to Ottery,” he added.