ALMOST eight centuries ago, an archer stood atop of the hill at Old Sarum, and shot an arrow into the valley to the south.

The legend goes that the arrow, remarkably, landed two miles away, marking the location of what would become Salisbury Cathedral.

Now, a year of celebration has been launched, to commemorate the inception of one of the most iconic landmarks in the world.

Named Salisbury 2020: City on the Move, celebrations are organised into three key ‘pillars’, including physical activities, technological projects, and exploration pursuits.

Salisbury Journal:

“Salisbury 2020 was conceived more than three years ago, but the key partnerships were forged in a time of adversity in 2018, when the city of Salisbury was called upon to show its resolve and prove its determination to move ahead with optimism, much like our forebears when they made their epochal move,” said The Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, Dean of Salisbury.

“To reflect this extraordinary spirit and vision we have an exciting programme of activities planned for Salisbury 2020 with music, worship, art and a flower festival, and we begin our celebrations in February with a light and sound spectacular inspired by the Cathedral’s history.”

The year of celebrations has been put together by Salisbury Cathedral with Salisbury BID, Salisbury City Council, Visit Wiltshire, Wiltshire Creative, Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire and Swindon Sports Partnership, plus several other local partners.

A full events programme will be released later in the year.

The decision to build the city’s cathedral all those centuries ago was made by Bishop Richard Poore, the medieval bishop of Salisbury.

This was driven by the need to access fresh water, and desperate to escape bad weather, royal supervision and regular harassment by soldiers stationed at Old Sarum Castle.

By April 1220 the foundation stones for the building were laid and expansion of the city we know today had begun.

Councillor Jeremy Nettle, leader of Salisbury City Council said: “Salisbury City Council is delighted to be a part of this exciting initiative.

“Creativity, commerce and craftsmanship are in the DNA of Salisbury and this celebratory project with its city wide events will enhance vibrancy for residents and neighbouring towns and villages, and encourage national and international visitors to spend more time in Salisbury uncovering its stories.”

Robin McGowan, chief executive of Salisbury Business Improvement District (BID), added: “Salisbury 2020 will be a fantastic celebration of our city and we’re pleased the BID is a supporting partner.

“The year-long programme of events will increase the vibrancy of our city centre and will give visitors from far and wide the reason to visit Salisbury. The BID is planning some exciting initiatives around the appearance of the city and as the organisation representative of Salisbury’s city centre businesses, we’re encouraging businesses to get involved with the 2020 programme.”