These Routes Were Made for Walking

Last weekend I had an email telling me about a history project over at Bonsall, a village in the Peak District. The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded them an All Our Stories grant to create six walking trails and accompanying illustrated leaflets, each focusing on different aspects of the village’s history. Getting people involved in the exploration and the celebration of their history is key to the Bonsall project – the trails and leaflets will be researched and developed by the people of the village themselves. To further encourage participation from the community, a programme of talks, workshops, visits and film shows has been put together.  You can follow the progress of the project by following their blog here and the trails will be launched on Sunday 12th May 2013. I’m already planning to visit in the summer, to discover more about the landscape and stories of a place shaped by mining and mills.

Header from the Bonsall History Blog – A walk through history

Walking trails are a gentle guide, holding your hand as they show you around, but always happy to let go and allow you to make your own discoveries. One of the beauties of exploring places in this way is that even when following the same trails, your walk will be different to my walk, and tomorrow’s walk will be different to today’s.

It’s always inspiring to see what’s going on elsewhere, be it in Bonsall, or the Black Country or anywhere else a wider range of people are encouraged to get involved with telling the stories of a wider range of people and places. Looking at things from a different perspective opens your eyes to possibilities in the place you live in and offers suggestions on how you might listen to the untold stories that surround you. Exploring new places is always a pleasure, but finding new ways of exploring familiar places can be just as rewarding.



9 thoughts on “These Routes Were Made for Walking

  1. @Christine Harding. I do remember late last year there was £100,000 awarded to the council as part of the ‘High Street Innovation Fund’. £50,000 of it was put aside to be spent on the high street. ( There was a chance to air your ideas and I remember one of the ideas was to have some kind of map of Lichfield. I don’t think they mentioned anything about showing historic Lichfield but it would be a great idea to have an historic to help boost tourism and not just a map of the town’s shopping area.


    • Thanks for the comments both. There is an existing heritage trail that you can pick up at Tourist Information, and there is also a QR code heritage trail in development. What I would really like to see in addition is something that gets people involved in its creation, and allows them to tell stories of their Lichfield and the Lichfield of their parents and grandparents, just as they’ve done at Bonsall. For example on a recent post about the Clock Tower, someone got in touch to say that her Grandfather had helped to move it to its current position and she believed that there was a plaque inside with his name, and the names of the workers. I’m reading a book called the Secret Lives of Buildings by Edward Hollis and one of the themes running through his chapter on Gloucester Cathedral is that no-one ever thought to note the names of its stonemasons in its Historia. It makes you think about the names and stories of those who were (and are) part of this city that no-one ever thought to note the names of…


  2. Excellent, I love walking. I am aware from a friend that Stafford Borough Council have a walking for health scheme and they have walks information leaflets. Thank you for another great blog.


    • Thanks for the comment I think the combination of health benefits and interest in your surrounding means walking is ideal exercise! Better than a treadmill…


  3. This is an excellent idea and a great way to see and get a feel for history.

    A friend of mine recently did an alternative walk around Warwick, a town now normal thought about because of its castle.

    However what a lot of people either do not realise or have forgotten is that Warwick was quite a heavily industrialised town, home to quite a lot of manufacturing.


    • Put me down in the lot of people category I had no idea! To me (until now) Warwick meant a castle – school trips and family trips. (I could embarrass a member of my family with recollections of him refusing to come down from one of the towers for two hours….) Seriously though, it just shows how something big like a castle (or a cathedral….) can cast a shadow that can leave everything else in the shade and why these other perspectives are really important, and also I think the interaction between all of the elements.


  4. Thanks for telling people about our Bonsall History Walks Kate. Everyone is very welcome to come along to the launch in May – we look forward to showing people around Bonsall – it’s a lovely place!


    • A pleasure Kay. Maybe we should charter a bus to bring us all over from Lichfield! Might make a little stop off in Wirksworth to see your t’Owd man too!


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