Plymouth's Powerful Women
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Plymouth’s Powerful Women is a new trail launching on the Plymouth Trails app for International Women’s Day. This year's theme for International Women's Day is 'Choose to Challenge'; the Trail App highlights how these women chose to challenge expectations and so helped to change Plymouth and make it the city it is today.

The trail has been developed by the Hoe Neighbourhood Forum for their National Lottery Heritage Funded project, “100 Years of Plymouth Powerful Women” in association with the University of Plymouth. The research was conducted by Dr Judith Rowbotham (Honorary Professor) and content and images were sourced by Professor Kim Stevenson (Emeritus Professor) from the University. 

The 1.2 mile route starts at the Nancy Astor statue on the Hoe, and stops at 13 sites with a connection to amazing women in Plymouth. You will hear the stories of scientist Marjorie Wilson, language school founder Suzanne Sparrow, suffragist Clara Daymond and the South West’s first female GP Dr Rosa Bale, among many others. The route finishes at the Mayflower Steps, where Nancy Astor laid the commemorative stone in 1920 to mark Mayflower300.

The trail celebrates 100 years of the important and influential women who lived or worked in the vicinity of The Hoe and who made a real difference to the city, pushing boundaries, enhancing living conditions, promoting social justice and creating educational opportunities for all.

The trail uses archival images and video to bring each stop to life. Users can follow the route with a real-time map. The route is suitable for wheelchair users, with an alternative route suggested to avoid one stretch of cobbles.

As we are in lockdown, we are launching this trail for local people (within walking distance) to enjoy. However, those who live in wider Plymouth can still use the app and content from their homes, or wait for local restrictions to lift.

This is trail is the 8th trail to be added to the app, alongside the Mayflower Trail, Rainbow Connections and City Centre Trail.

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Today's events

Walking in Nancy's footsteps

Prior to her election, Lady Astor had been instrumental in nurturing a small network of powerful women which is a central theme of the trail.

The Plymouth Trails project

The Plymouth Trails project launched in 2020 with delivery of three core trails that were developed to open up Plymouth's heritage for local people and tourists. 

The free Plymouth Trails app uses real-time maps to guide you around, giving you the chance to explore the city at your own pace and discover more about its complex history. Each stop contains a mix of text, images and videos. Image overlay stops lets you experience Now & Then, with archival images merging over the current view. The three core trails also have an audio option so that you can enjoy the views while listening to the content.

Available trails are the Mayflower Trail, Hoe Trail, City Centre Trail, Rainbow Connections Trail, Plymouth's Powerful Women Trail, Waterfront Walkway (South West Coast Path), American Tree Trail, and the Sutton Harbour Heritage Trail.

Download the free app from the AppStore or PlayStore, or visit for more information.

The Plymouth Trails project was made possible with financial support from Plymouth City Council, the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Great Western Railway, Plymouth Waterfront Partnership, Mayflower400 and the General Society of Mayflower Descendants.

Event photography and video

Please be aware that some of the University of Plymouth's public events (both online and offline) may be attended by University staff, photographers and videographers, for capturing content to be used in University online and offline marketing and promotional materials, for example webpages, brochures or leaflets. If you, or a member of your group, do not wish to be photographed or recorded, please let a member of staff know.