Today is a big day. A very big day indeed. In fact, for roundabout enthusiasts, it’s nothing less than the highlight of the year – for today, the UK Roundabout Appreciation Society announced the 2014 winner of its Roundabout of the Year Competition.
First place went to the Stonehills roundabout in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, which will appear on the cover of the society’s 2015 calendar. According to Kevin Beresford, president of the society, the roundabout has its new 12-foot sculpture of a knight on horseback to thank for its victory. Beresford told The Telegraph:
“It is one of the most dramatic and imposing roundabouts I have ever come across. On the approach to the [traffic] island a gigantic 12ft figure looms into view, it reminds me of the final scene in the cult film The Wicker Man.”
The statue was installed to commemorate the 1471 Battle of Tewkesbury (though we suspect town authorities may have also had this year’s roundabout competition in mind). Here it is:
Image: Philip Halling, reused under Creative Commons.
Tuckton roundabout in Bournemouth, another entry on the shortlist, was chosen because the judges thought drain covers on its perimeter looked like faces:
Other roundabouts on the shortlist had no such landmarks to set them apart, like this mini roundabout in Menston, West Yorkshire:
We can only assume it was chosen for its sheer simplicity.
The competition’s been running since 2003, and previous winners have included the Otford duck pond roundabout (notorious in roundabout circles) and York’s Holgate Windmill roundabout.
The competition is judged, Beresford told The Independent, by members of the society who collect photos of roundabouts and then discuss them in a local pub. Beresford himself makes the final decision – “this society is not a democracy”, he said, ominously.
The society’s origins, however, are a little more mercenary than you might guess (true roundabout enthusiasts, look away now): Beresford’s printing company was looking for something different to put on their calendars, and came up with this. We can only hope a true passion for the circular intersections grew as time went on.
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