Somerset space walk is a great day out, essentially a scenic walk along the Taunton and Bridgwater canal with to scale models of the solar system. I have to say it was absolutely brilliant for helping me understand how big everything is in relation to each other and the distance between planets. Particularly brilliant for kids learning this at school, although you’ll notice Pluto is included like it was when I was at school but that’s now classified as a dwarf planet as they discovered several more since Pluto.
Enormous to us, tiny on the cosmic scale. Our home, unique, beautiful, fragile.Inventor of the Space Walk, Pip Youngman, on the planet Earth.
Each planet has a pillar which is also a mile post which shows the distance to both Bridgwater and Taunton. The quotation above is from the inscription on Earth’s pillar by the inventor of the Space Walk, Pip Youngman.
To get to the Space Walk, I typed in Maunsel Lock Tearooms into the satnav (TA7 0DH) and that takes you to the approximate location of the Canalside carpark. After some slightly dodgy parking on my behalf we all tumbled out of the car and had a picnic at a picnic bench next to the car park as a good spot to meet friends. As picnic spots by car parks go, this rated highly.
The Somerset Space Walk starts with the Sun at Higher Maunsel Lock. However, from the Canalside carpark (which is also located conveniently near the Maunsel Lock Tearooms who do an excellent flat white) you’ll be a few planets away from the Sun. Just take a moment to figure out your bearings in this Universe of ours.
We really enjoyed finding the planets, and made it to Jupiter. Saturn seemed a bit too far for the little legs. It was particularly lovely being able to stand in the model of the Sun with my own little Universe.
Have you tried the Space Walk? I’d encourage you to give it a go! It does get a little busy on the path with other walkers and cyclists too but it’s something different and a lot of fun. I read that it was opened in 1997 by British astronomer Heather Couper. Now she sounds like someone I need to find out a bit more about. I’m going to leave you with a tranquil picture of the canal. If you visit let me know what you think, and did you manage to find all the planets?