SITTING on books is not normally a good idea - but it is being encouraged in Winchester Cathedral Close this summer.

‘Sitting With Jane’ is a Jane Austen inspired sculpture trail to help celebrate the life of the Hampshire author who died 200 years ago next month.

The sculptures are all benches – each shaped like an open book, every design is unique and hand-painted by a professional artist in a style inspired by Austen’s life and times in Basingstoke, Steventon, Alton and Winchester.

A bench designed by Winchester University Artist in Residence, Amy Goodman, will be on exhibit in The Close until July 31.

The trail and the associated app will give the opportunity to explore (and sit in) places and landscapes that were important influences on Jane’s life and work – often undiscovered by visitors.

She was born in Steventon, and Basingstoke was her local town for more than half her life. This trail will help to reconnect visitors with where she grew up and began her writing career. Sculptures will be auctioned for a local charity leaving a lasting legacy in the area.

She died at a house in College Street, having moved from her home at Chawton to be nearer her doctor.

There will be 24 BookBenches and the dedicated website and app will guide you around as you visit some interesting places, linking them together to give an insightful tour.