Trails of Discovery (formerly Church Trails)
A Church Trail is a question sheet that guides children and accompanying adults around a church and encourages them to engage with the architecture, history and furnishings. Arts Society members voluntarily give their time to research and write the questions and corresponding answer sheets. The aim is to encourage 8-12 year olds and their families to learn about the building and inspire them to visit and enjoy other churches.
Church trails are researched, written and designed in a child friendly format. They are produced on two-sided A4 sheets to keep the cost of reproduction to a minimum.
Once a trail has been tested, the local Arts Society provides a CD/Memory stick and hard copies of the questions and answers to the church. The local Arts Society bears the small cost of making the trail and setting it up in the church. The suggested amount to set aside for this is approximately £50, but it is often much less. The church then funds the maintenance of supplies of the trail.
Over 18 Church Trails have been completed in the North East Area.
A recent innovation is the Memory Trail, which has been designed with the help of psychiatric and dementia professionals to enable carers and people living with dementia to talk through aspects of a church or historic building which are likely to evoke memories and conversation based on observation, touch and smell. The trail is presented as a double-sided sheet of A4 with text and pictures to guide the carer and the person living with dementia around the building.
If you think a Trail of Discovery would help people engage with a church or historic building near you, why not contact your local Society and invite them to produce one. For details of your nearest Society visit the Societies page.
Once a Society has agreed to make a trail, full support and training will be given by a Church Trails Adviser.