National Trust and Halfwayhike poetry trail walk

A National Trust and Poetry Trail collab

Last Saturday saw me out on a National Trust guided walk which itself was based on the poetry trail I devised a few years back.

One of the NT walk leaders, Karen, in collaboration with filmmaker Huw Wahl, felt that the poetry trail could be a great basis for a guided walk and as part of a wider landscapes project that is underway.

The walk with the National Trust was filmed as part of a multidisciplinary project with the University of Manchester. The National Trust and other stakeholders are focused on the reintroduction of trees to some of the moorland cloughs and the filming is one strand of the overall consideration and ‘response’ to that initiative, to be captured by the talented filmmaker Huw Whal.

Karen got to know the existing walk trail really well and made changes for the National Trust walk, but in essence, it was the same route. Karen puts her all into researching and checking a route and it was a pleasure and fun to be part of the team before and during the day. And, as it turned out, a couple of additional poems and poets were added (see below) which is a ‘result’ for me.

It was great to have a few of the poets that are featured on it with us on the day of the walk and gratifying (if that’s the right word- me no poet) to hear them lift their words from the page. Actually, one of the poets who read their work (Phoenix, below) was added to the trail as a result of the NT walk.

And one other poet (with their poem of course) has been added to the route as a result of the NT walk and Karen connecting with me, but alas that poet couldn’t make the day.

Both ‘new’ poets for the trail were introduced to me / us via an anthology recently put together by Marsden Community Poetry group and published by Maytree Press as ‘Village Voices’:

  • Phoenix Nixon –  ‘Moorland Fires’
    (thanks for reading, Pheonix, it was affecting hearing your words as we stood looking at the blackened expanse of Close Moss and Thieves Clough opposite us).
  • Susan Clark – ‘Bedrock’

I’ll be updating the trail map and ‘poet corner’ waymarkers with these two poets and poems soon. Thanks to both for agreeing to be added. It’s great that this trail has been picked up by others and I can add to it over time.

Thanks to Karen and Huw for the day and also Ryan who was the sound recordist with Huw. And especially to poets Jo Haslam, Sarah Dixon and Phoenix Nixon who gave their time to read!

Here are some of my photos from the day:

Marsden Poetry Trail Sarah Dixon reading
Sarah L Dixon reads ‘Marsden, illuminated’ near the railway pub where it started life one Imbolc night!
Filmmakers on Marsden Moor for the poetry trail walk
Huw and Ryan capturing poets in the wild on Marsden Moor
Walk leader and dog overlooking Close Moss Marsden
Ian – himself a great NT walk leader – with ‘our Jasper’, pointing out the recent wildfire (arson, actually) burn over at Close Moss (which is just out of view here). A poignant link to the later poem reading from Phoenix Nixon.
Jo Haslam poetry reading on Millstone Edge
Jo Haslam reads ‘Lominot’ near the Dinnerstone at Millstone Edge (close to the plaque for Saddleworth poet Ammon Wrigley).
The moorland area called Lominot is further along the trail near March Hill but Jo had to turn round at this point and head back down into Marsden.
Heading down the Marden Moor packhorse path
Heading down the old packhorse path towards Eastergate
Poetry reading at Tunnel End
Sarah Dixon reads one of her poems at Tunnel End near the end of the guided walk.


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