Trails of Discovery ( Formerly Church Trails)

Recent Activities Below

Hunting for more than Easter eggs

Pupils from Richmond Church of England Primary School were the first to try out the Children’s Trail of St Mary’s Church Richmond, devised by members of The Arts Society Wensleydale.  Teacher Lucy Hodges and 30 excited Year 4 explorers spent an hour researching, hunting and discussing answers to the quiz. 

“I did not know there was anything under the seats but I really like the dancing pigs” exclaimed one youngster on examining the choir stall misericords.

 The adult helpers also discovered new aspects of the 12th Century Church, restored by the 19th Century Gothic Revivalist Sir George Gilbert Scott.

Jackie Pope Chair of the Society said:

 “Education and conservation are important strands of our work and the Children’s Trail ticks both boxes.  The more you know about something, the more likely you are to cherish it”.

The morning finished with drinks and chocolate eggs. Children’s Trail quiz sheets are available for everyone in St Mary's Church. 


For information about The Arts Society Wensleydale please contact Ros Higson on 01765 635244 Copyright photographs by Martin Haywood with parental permission.


New Church Trail for St Mary’s,Thirsk

At the end of their Palm Sunday Service, a small group of volunteers from Hambleton Decorative and Fine Arts Society presented St Mary’s Church, Thirsk, with a newly completed Church Trail that they had been instrumental in creating. A number of the children who had been at the Service, including Kayla and Sophie (seen in the photograph), wanted to have a go at answering the questions there and then!

A Church Trail is a two-sided, illustrated, questionnaire which is intended to guide young people, aged between 8 and 12 years, around the church and draw their attention to the architecture, the furnishings and the history of the building. There is also a corresponding answer sheet that incorporates more information. The whole package is designed to encourage children and the adults accompanying them to explore the building, to learn about it and its part in our national heritage and to make them want to visit other churches.’sthirsk


A Church Trail is a question sheet that guides children and accompanying adults around a church and encourages them to engage with the architecture, history and furnishings. NADFAS members voluntarily give their time to research and write the questions and corresponding answer sheets. The aim is to encourage 8-12 year olds and their families to learn about the building and inspire them to visit and enjoy other churches.

Church trails are researched, written and designed in a child friendly format. They are produced on two-sided A4 sheets to keep the cost of reproduction to a minimum.

Once a trail has been tested, the NADFAS society provide a CD/Memory stick and hard copies of the questions and answers to the church. The local NADFAS Society bears the small cost of making the trail and setting it up in the church. The suggested amount to set aside for this is approximately £50, but it is often much less. The church then funds the maintenance of supplies of the trail.

An Arts Society trail for your church 

If you think a church trail would help visitors and congregation engage with your church, contact your local Society and invite them to produce one. For details of your nearest Society visit the Societies Section of this website.

IOnce a society has agreed to make a trail full support and training will be given by the North East Area Church Trails Adviser.


Church Trails in the North East Area


ST MARY’S THIRSK (Hambleton ) - the trail has now been checked by the checking team at NADFAS and will hopefully be launched in the Spring.

ST CUTHBERT’S, DARLINGTON (North Yorks and South Durham ) is also to be launched very soon – now that building repair work at the church is complete.

ST MARY’S, RICHMOND (Wensleydale ) – good progress being made by the new team and hopefully the trail will be launched later in the year.

I am retiring from the post as Church Trails Advisor for the North East at the national AGM in May. Thank you to all the teams I have worked with for your enthusiasm, professionalism and friendship – we have made some wonderful trails – which will hopefully be enjoyed by children for many years to come.

Below is a list of the 15 trails completed in our Area over the last 6 years –

St Martin’s, Burton Agnes, East Yorks                       (Driffield Wolds )

St Mary’s, Sledmere, East Yorks                                (Driffield Wolds )

All Hallows’, Walkington, East Yorks                          (NE Area)

St Mary’s, Goathland, North Yorks                             (Helmsley )

All Saints’, Helmsley, North Yorks                               (Helmsley )

St Mary’s, Leake, near Thirsk, North Yorks                (NE Area)

St Andrew’s, Paull, near Hull                                      (Holderness )

St Hilda’s, Leeds                                                         (NE Area/Leeds)

St Mary’s, Boston Spa, West Yorks                           (NE Area/Leeds)

All Saints’, Bramham, near Leeds                               (NE Area)

St Philip the Apostle, Birchencliffe, West Yorks.        (West Riding )

St Michael the Archangel, Emley, West Yorks.           (West Riding )

And three soon to be launched

St Mary’s, Thirsk, North Yorks                                    (Hambleton )

St Cuthbert’s, Darlington, Co Durham              (North Yorks & South Durham )

St Mary’s, Richmond, North Yorks.                             (Wensleydale )



During 2015 the following church trails have been completed and launched:

All Hallows’, Walkington, near Beverley

All Saints, Helmsley              Photograph of the Church Trail launch at Helmsley

St Mary’s, Leake, near Thirsk


Other trails which exist in our area are:

St Martin’s, Burton Agnes

St Mary’s, Boston Spa

St Hilda’s, Cross Green, Leeds

All Saints’, Bramham

St Andrew’s, Paull

St Mary’s, Goathland

St Philip the Apostle, Birchencliffe

St Michael the Archangel, Emley


Church trails currently being worked on are –

St Cuthbert’s, Darlington (North Yorks & South Durham )

St Mary’s, Sledmere (Driffield Wolds )


Three trails were launched in the latter part of 2015 – these being:-




The team from NORTH YORKS AND SOUTH DURHAM should soon be launching the trail for 


Work is on-going on the trail for ST MARY, SLEDMERE which is being made by DRIFFIELD WOLDS .  This is their second trail – the first being for ST MARTIN, BURTON AGNES.  Once again the church chosen is one with a high number of visitors due to its attachment to a stately home.

WENSLEYDALE  are still trying to resurrect the trail for ST MARY, RICHMOND. If this is completed it is hoped to do a church trail of ST ANDREW, AYSGARTH.

New updated guidelines and blueprint are being worked on by the CT Team to help make documentation more user-friendly.