History enthusiasts have begun the installation of a number of ‘interpretation boards’ across Foxdale as part of a project to create a heritage trail.
The first phase of the project has now been completed and means that members of the public can view five of the ten planned boards at historic sites around the village covering topics including the old railway line, the clock tower and the primary school.
Stuart Lambie, a trustee and the secretary of the charity, said: ‘The trustees had, for some time, considered erecting an Interpretation board in the vicinity of the centre but when Phil Matthews became a trustee he suggested a much more ambitious plan.
‘He had in mind to erect ten boards at various locations around the village, forming a trail along which people could read about different aspects of the heritage of Foxdale.’
The project began in 2018 after an application was made for a grant under the ‘Year of Our Island’ scheme which provided the initial £1,000 towards the boards.
Emma Cooke was responsible for the design of the boards, of which number one, two, three, four and eight have been erected, while David Roberts Joinery Ltd were responsible for the joinery.
The erected boards have been sponsored by local people, businesses and the primary school council and were written by Phil Matthews and Mike Buttell.
Mr Matthews authored boards one and eight, which are located by the primary school and clock tower while Mr Buttell, an expert on Manx railways, was responsible for boards two, three and four which cover the old station and railway line.
They are situated by the heritage centre and at points along the railway route.
Mr Matthews is also in the process of completing three of the remaining boards with two others ready to go after receiving the relevant planning permission and sponsorship from Kionslieu Farm Holiday Cottages and Magic Carpets.
A first phase of the project comes after a series of recent flooding and maintenance issues in the heritage centre, which the charity moved into in 2004, that have left it closed to the public.
However, the charity says that a recent donation has meant that it is in a better position to proceed with the necessary rewiring and system replacements in the building which was been in use since 1886 and used to house the old railway station.
Mr Lambie says that the ‘generous’ donation from a ‘kind benefactor’ has alleviated much of the concern about raising the needed amount that was previously ‘a daunting proposition.’
He said: ‘Although Foxdale Heritage has been unable to invite the public to view information about the heritage of the village inside the centre, it is hoped that the public can still appreciate the information which the boards offer. The trustees are very grateful to all those who have helped in any way, especially the sponsors, without whom the project would not have been possible.’