A new kind of walking trail with a folk song theme is all set to open in Okehampton later this month, courtesy of Wren Music which put together the trail. 

In what is thought to be the first of its kind in Okehampton, Wren Music’s Okehampton Folk Trail takes walkers on a historical tour of the town accompanied with traditional songs and local stories.

Thanks to help from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the 1.5-mile trail will officially open on tomorrow, September 22 at 7pm, when local people are invited to come along and walk the route.

The eight trail songs were chosen following conversations with local people at memory cafes hosted by Wren Music creative director, Marilyn Tucker, and project volunteer, Ruth Cartlidge. From these conversations, the stories were matched with songs from Wren Music’s archive. 

Marilyn said: “We sifted through the archive and as it worked out, all of the songs are from the Sabine Baring-Gould collection of songs which he collected from his travels around the South West. We didn’t set out to do that, it just so happens that these songs fit the stories.

“I don’t know of any other trail in the UK that’s illustrated by folk songs in this way. And the songs are all fairly upbeat, even the one about the coffin! We are looking at the hidden history and the social history of Okehampton. The songs and the places all feed off each other, so you get the folk songs of Devon telling the story of ordinary people of Devon at various times in history, of the lives they led and the work that they did.

“This is a real community project, and we would love as many people as possible to join us on our guided walk.”

Wren Music’s musicians and singers spent this summer recording the music which will be able to be heard at each of the stops by visiting the trail website.

A route map and all the information about the songs and the stories will be in accompanying leaflet and website launched later this autumn. 

The route starts on West Okement Bridge on West Street and ends back in the town centre, at St James Chapel.  

To book a place visit the Wren Music website at www.wrenmusic.co.uk/news/okehampton-hidden-history.