The UK’s Poet Laureate has unveiled a new poetry trail near Bath as part of a visit to Monkton School. Carol Ann Duffy met with students from the senior school and prep school as part of the special visit to launch the trail in Monkton Combe.

The trail created by the school which winds its way around Monkton Combe village and the surrounding valley includes ‘poetry stop off points’ where visitors will discover silver coloured tins containing a notepad and pen. Passers-by are invited to jot down a few lines of poetry, or read the words of others who have already taken part in the trail.

Carol Ann said, “I think it’s a really inspired project to be able to go off on a walk and discover these notebooks which have been put out along the route and read what has been left there by people who have gone ahead of you, and also perhaps to write something. Even if not your own poem you could write your favourite poem, perhaps a piece of Shakespeare or Keats.”

Head of English at the school, Helen Wilkinson, added, “This is a great way to get children out and about whilst also encouraging them to think about poetry and literature while they walk.”

The school has produced a map of the route which can be downloaded at the school’s website www.monktoncombeschool.com At the end of the project the booklets will be collected and a selection of the poems will be shared online.

Carol Ann first visited the school in 2012 when it won a national poetry competition called Anthologise. Since then Monkton’s poetry group, led by Librarian Lynne Webb and Art Teacher Jane Hildreth, has gone from strength to strength and produced three further anthologies of poetry. One of the group, Year 12 student Lily Riley explained, “Poetry has provided me with a new outlet for creativity that I had previously dismissed as outdated and dull. Poetry club has introduced me not only to new poets but also to the work of my peers.”