Catha's Seat

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Catha's Seat: Progress and Design Update May 2013

In the last progress report in February we left the story with the generous resurfacing contractors poised to clear a space in the shrubbery for Catha's Seat. With a week to go before the nesting bird regulations came into force on March 1st it couldn't have been better timing and I am pleased to report that the area is now prepared. Many thanks to EOS for their quick work here and Colin at KCC for supporting the action.

Area cleared for Catha's Seat. Looking out towards the Stour Valley and Chilham Castle.


Since then we have been working on the brief and design concepts. This involved plenty of cups of tea, google image research on other cycle route seat designs, and a fair few visits to site.

See below for the Design Brief and rough outlines of the current design concept. 

The next stage in the process is to finalise the design with ARC and produce nicer marketing drawings of the seat in situ. These will be used in letters to Councillors and local Stakeholders to raise further support in preparation for installation.


Catha's Seat Design Brief


  • Main objective is to provide a destination for all to view the Stour Valley and see Chilham Castle in the distance. Whilst there to rest and maybe picnic
  • We should accommodate a family on bikes, walkers, couples and wheelchair users
  • Our users may come from and return to London by train, Canterbury (7 miles), Ashford (9 miles), Wye (5 miles), Chilham (2 miles) and Chartham (4 miles)
  • The final design should make reference to Sheila's seat in light of Mum and Sheila's work together
  • Needs to have facilities to have picnics - i.e. side tables
  • No tables or restrictions in front of the seat to impede you from the view
  • Define the space behind the seats such that it is obvious where the bikes go

Design Concept:

The design has been based on two smaller versions of Sheila's design each able to comfortably accommodate two adults or a couple and child. As the Seat is planned as a destination we felt it was important to have the two separate features so there is space if one of the seats is already taken. 

We hope that this set up, angled slightly inwards, would allow users of the two benches to interact and start a conversation.
Plan view of Catha's Seat Area
As in Sheila's design the backs of the seats incorporate slots between the timbers where users can park / stand their bikes.

The area has been designed into a sweeping curve, marked out by gravel boards. This helps guide the user to bring their bike around the back and also creates a more pleasant interface with the cycle path.

Large armrests have been designed in such that users can rest their picnics and drinks on the side rather than having a table in front that would impede you from being immersed in the landscape.

Rough 3D Model of Catha's Seat Area

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