If you walked or cycled along the Tarka Trail this summer, you might have noticed some unusual boxes along your route.  If you opened one up you’ll have discovered a photograph from the Beaford Archive and a little pad and a pencil for you to respond to the image. If you took the time to do this, thank you. We received over 50 books packed full of wonderful drawings and poems and we’re delighted to share some of them with you now.

A selection are below and you can now discover 150 poems in the actual places they were written. Chris Jelley,the Poet Technologist who created the boxes, has geo-tagged the Trail meaning that you can now walk the trail, ‘unlock’ the poems via your mobile phone and even add a new one of your own!

The water seeps
My mind at peace
The ebb and flow
Slowly drift,
At nightfall, as cold as
The sun a shade too bright to touch
Tides align
And time it stops
Toes they touch, a crunch
Of rocks they budge
The times I write
A vacant smudge
— The Water Seeps, Anon

How can I read the poems, where will I find them?

 The poems are digitally geotagged along the trail, to read them you will need to stand where the author stood and then each poem will become magically available to you through your mobile phone.

So it’s like a poetry hunt?

 Yes, these gems are digitally hidden along the trail, to find them simply open the web page https://tarkatrail.poetrypin.info on your mobile phone. 

The website will ask for your location, please click ‘allow’ (if it doesn’t then you’ll probably have to fiddle about a bit and turn your GPS on)

The Poetry Pin web page has a live map with a blue dot, this is you. 

Walk over to a pin, each is a poem, once close by the title will pop up, you can then tap it to read.

Poetry Pin is just a web page not an app so it’s dead easy to do.


Can I write a poem too?

 Yes, we would love more poems along the whole of the Tarka Trail from top to bottom, reflecting our history, nature and landscape, it is easy to add your own words.

On the same Poetry Pin page there is an ‘Add Poem’ button in the top right corner.

Pop in your words, name and email (secure) and they will be geotagged to the very spot you are standing, this is where people will also come to read your magic words.


Are some poems easier to find?

 Currently poems are in clusters such as Fremington Quay and Instow, and other places have no poems at all!

Perhaps you should do something about this and write some interesting words about your special place along the trail.


Will there be writing workshops?

 Yes, Mr Jelley the lead artist will also be running some writing and geotagging workshops in spring - so keep your eyes peeled. These will get you adding new words to the trail in a jiffy, responding to place, space and the amazing Beaford archive with images from Roger Deakin and James Ravilious.


The simple instructions 

 Open https://tarkatrail.poetrypin.info on your mobile phone. 

Travel to the trail

Hunt out pins / poems

Be inspired and write your own

Encourage others and show off your own after geotagging them !

Attend a creative writing workshop on the trail in the spring (free!)

Round and solid topper with sticks
I see the elves have been up to their tricks
A hut in a field they have constructed
In which their magic may be conducted
They dance and sing clap and chant
As they decide which hiker to enchant
The spells they weave bring luck and joy
To any person girl or boy
Now if you’re quiet and act like an elf
— Elvish Tricks, MB