HENLEY Arts Trail has been hailed a success, with an increase in attendees and sales
HENLEY Arts Trail has been hailed a success, with an increase in attendees and sales, writes Connor McLoughlin.
This was despite traffic problems due to the endurance event Tough Mudder at the Culden Faw estate in Fawley, where 15,000 people took part on Saturday and Sunday.
The arts trail, organised by Henley Art and Crafts Guild, took place at 25 locations across Henley and the surrounding area including Wargrave, Shiplake, Bix, Remenham, Twyford, Charvil and Ruscombe.
It ran for all three days of the bank holiday weekend.
Chairwoman Cate Stuart, of Culham Lane, Remenham, said traffic was backed up on White Hill and the Wargrave Road, making it difficult to get into Henley.
She said: “I haven’t had everybody’s feedback forms but the general numbers were as good, if not better then last year.
“Tough Mudder was a bit of a problem for quite a few venues in Henley and those down the hill into the town.
“Other then that, I think it was very successful for most people. Sales were up for those I have spoken to and they certainly were for me.
“The thing we notice is people are returning — they come back every year because they enjoy it.”
Artworks on show over the weekend included sculpture, ceramics, glass, jewellery, photography, fine arts and woodwork.
The arts trail was launched in 2006 and is co-ordinated by the Henley Art and Crafts Guild. Pink and white signposts are put up across the area to make it clear where the exhibitions are.
Mrs Stuart said the committee who organise the event would discuss moving the date at a meeting next month.
“We did consider moving it for this year but by the time we came to organise it people had already made arrangements,” she said.
“We’ve always had it this weekend then Tough Mudder came along and there is now the new food festival in Shiplake as well. There is a lot of demand for other places.
“We’ve got to go over what was good and bad and the rest of it. The number one question will be, will we have it? If yes, then which weekend?
“I think it could well be changed to the last weekend in May, but it depends on those taking part.”
Nikki Emmans, vice president for international marketing at Tough Mudder, said: "Our event in Henley last weekend was one of our most popular UK events to date and we have received fantastic feedback from participants and spectators as well as the local community.
"The spectacular setting and weather ensured that many came down to stay for the full weekend, providing a boost for many local businesses, especially hotels and restaurants.
"Working closely with the local council, we made every effort to minimise the disruption for local residents.
"A full traffic management plan was put into place, include signage erected weeks in advance to warn of possible delays.
"We will of course continue to look at ways to minimise the disruption and work with the council to ensure the future success of the event for all involved."