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.
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.