2020 Blake Trail

2020 Blake Trail

2014 Blake Trail

Bognor’s very own art trail

Exclusive to the Bognor Regis Observer, we are giving away the Big Blake Trail maps

On a windy and wet Saturday, local Scouts and St Wilfred’s choir celebrated the launch of the Blake Trail Map. Jerusalem was sung at Bognor Regis Train Station, the start of the Blake Trail, after which the Scouts ventured off to lay out the trail with golden angel stickers. Copies of the trail quiz and guide sponsored by local businesses have been donated to the Tourist Information Offices in both Bognor Regis and Chichester. A beautiful limited edition have been printed and are made available to readers of the Bognor Regis Observer free of charge by the Big Blake Project.

This stunning map has been sponsored by Town Manager, Toyubur Rahman and it’s prime purpose is to support the Town Centre by linking it to our green spaces and our “banks of ocean”. Aside from the obvious health and fitness benefits of the trail, there is fun too with a cultural quiz, following the route signposted with angel stickers, or as an imaginative contemplative walk through Beulah.

Will Harvey, Vice-Chair of the Big Blake Project commissioned the highly regarded London artist Chris Price to draw the map. It is a celebration of Bognor’s local heritage and shows Richard Hotham strolling through the park as well as Queen Victoria and, of course, Blake himself penning the lines to Jerusalem the song that has helped inspire on entire nation, be it at royal weddings, sporting triumphs or marches for justice.

It is no coincidence that Jerusalem opens with “And did your feet?” To Blake, feet were uniquely important since they connect man to the land and through the vessel of man, the land to Heaven. What better way to celebrate then than a trail to commemorate those walks that inspired Blake around this area that he referred to as Beulah – meaning married to the land? According to Blake, Beulah offers “windows into Eden” but remains a step removed from earthly paradise.

The Big Blake Trail is designed to grow with new items of interest added each year. Permission has been given from Southern Rail for a permanent map at the station and it is hoped that this will inspire and engage people’s imagination as the “world of the imagination is infinite and eternal”.

2015 Blake Trail

William Blake Heritage Trail Project

Project summary

It is hoped students from Felpham Community College will be awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Young Roots scheme to enable them to set up an interactive William Blake Heritage Trail to enable others to discover more about the influential poet.

The students will design interpretation boards to be installed at key locations in Felpham, including Blake’s cottage, his church and the Fox Inn, where he was famously arrested. The boards will feature QR codes to link to a website/app that will feature short video interpretations of Blake’s life. It is hoped the heritage trail will appeal across the age ranges, attracting older visitors familiar with traditional trails but also younger audiences who will be drawn in by the interactive film elements. As William Blake’s work appears on new English Literature GCE specifications, it is believed the trail will have broad appeal to both teachers and their students.

It is expected between ten and 20 students aged 16-19 will be involved in the production of the interactive materials, giving them the opportunity to build valuable transferable skills. Students will learn about the importance of teamwork and how to work to deadlines and specific briefs; they will also acquire research skills in addition to media production skills such as directing, presenting and editing. This will help to meet key Ofsted requirements in relation to the government’s employability agenda.

An external co-ordinator (Steve Murray) will be the main contact for the project and co-ordinate the various on-going elements. Dan Musty, of Millstream Productions, will be responsible for overseeing the production of the film excerpts. He will provide week to week support during the production process and be responsible for facilitating shoots. A graphic/web designer will be responsible for overseeing the design of the interpretation boards and the accompanying leaflet and website, mentoring students to produce these materials.

Rachel Searle has agreed to be the college’s nominated staff member for the the project. Other staff at Felpham Community College will not be expected to manage or contribute to the project unless they wish to do so.

Students’ academic work will not be affected, but they will gain an enormous amount, for example, students working on previous similar projects have received university offers based on their participation.

If funding is granted, work on the project will begin in January 2016 with a celebration launch event planned for September 2016. It is expected the college will receive significant positive media attention.

2016 Blake Trail

Historical background

The French Revolution took place in 1789 and the King was overthrown. Britain and France were at war when William Blake went to live in Felpham in 1800. There was a peace treaty made in 1802, but that was soon broken by the French. In May 1803 Dragoons [soldiers] were stationed in Felpham to stop Napoleon’s forces landing if they tried to cross the channel in flat boats. Local men also joined the volunteer militia forces which were responsible for fighting the French if they arrived. There was a real fear that there would be a French invasion in the Summer of 1803.

At the time Felpham was a very small village with between 25 and 30 houses. The best known resident was William Hayley. He was a very popular poet and writer at the time and lived in Turrett House. It was about midnight on 18 September 1800 when William Blake and his wife, Catherine, arrived from London in Felpham. William Hayley employed Blake to engrave some pictures for a book which he was writing and also got him to paint some portrait heads for his library. Blake soon became part of Hayley’s circle of friends and acquaintances.

The Jury

Only men aged between 21 and 70 could serve on a jury. In addition, there was a property qualification which meant that men had to own or rent land or houses worth more than £10 a year. This meant that no labourers could be on a jury.

There had been a lot of opposition in Chichester to the troops stationed in the area because it was thought that their number had driven up the price of bread and led to other shortages. The presence of the troops was also believed to have caused increased drunkenness, fighting and a general deterioration in behaviour.

Follow this link to visit the Blake Trail website