Manchester Literature Festival's poetry audio trail takes visitors around Wigan borough beauty spot

An audio trail of poetry has been created for visitors to a Wigan borough beauty spot hoping to get closer to nature.
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Manchester Literature Festival worked in partnership with Lancashire Wildlife Trust to make the self-guided trail around Pennington Flash in Leigh, which is part of the Wigan and Leigh National Nature Reserves.

The audio features six nature-immersed poems by Northern poets Jason Allen-Paisant, Kate Davis, Seán Hewitt, Zaffar Kunial, Clare Shaw and Jean Sprackland.

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It is hoped it will connect people with the landscape and the poets’ experiences, as well as inspire them to write their own poems.

Pennington FlashPennington Flash
Pennington Flash

Visitors can listen to the poems remotely or download an app from the izi.TRAVEL website and follow the trail in person around Pennington Flash.

Cathy Bolton, co-director of Manchester Literature Festival, said "The trail is a great way of encouraging people to explore and discover their local landscape whilst listening to resonant poetry, forging a deeper connection with nature.

"We hope this immersive experience will provide an oasis of calm and help unlock listeners own creativity."

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The poetry trail came at the end of a project funded by Wigan Council’s The Deal called Wanderland, which involved connecting art with nature, by immersing it within the landscape of Wigan and Leigh.

Poet Clare ShawPoet Clare Shaw
Poet Clare Shaw

It follows the Carbon Landscape Poet in Residence project with Clare Shaw, run by Manchester Literature Festival in 2021.

This involved Clare writing a sequence of poems about their interaction with the landscape and local people, as well as running creative writing workshops for writing/community groups, including the Paperback Writers and Art Tea Group in Leigh.

The audio trail can be used at the Flashes Festival of Nature, a family fun day being held at Pennington Flash from 11am to 3pm on Sunday, July 16.

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There will be a host of nature-themed activities, including nature walks and accessible trails, foraging, face painting, eco-crafts and activities, nature stalls, photography and wild art.

It will include the official opening of an adventure playground with nature-themed equipment for children up to the age of 11, which has been installed as part of improvements to Pennington Flash.