A POETRY anthology which doubles up as a trail guide following the four seasons in an Oxfordshire village has been published.

Twelve writers from East Hagbourne, near Didcot, published the village's second poets' trail anthology.

Anthology illustrator Linda Benton lives in the village and has worked as an artist and illustrator for most of her life.

Originally inspired by the village scarecrow trail, Ms Benton and local poet Rodger Phipps decided to create a poetry book that could be brought to life by reading it on a walk around the village.

Ms Benton said: “A few years ago, myself and a local poet called Rodger Phipps were chatting and he was keen on the idea of doing something in the village with poetry that people could enjoy outdoors.”

Oxford Mail:

After asking the parish council, the pair placed markers for walkers to follow and stop to read a poem.

She added: “Round the village there are 13 markers and in the poets’ trail book it has a map of the village which shows where the markers are. The idea is that people will have the little book and they can take a walk around the village.”

The first book was a collection of Mr Phipps' poems. For this second book it was his wish to involve as many other poets as possible. Ms Benson and Mr Phipps made a local request for poems and were delighted with the response.

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A group of 12 writers contributed to the 36-page book themed around seasons.

Although some of the poets are already published writers the majority of poets in the anthology attend writing groups and for others it was this project that inspired them to pick up the pen.

Ms Benton said: “Most of the people are not published authors. In fact, one of the people who has written a little poem for each season said she had not written anything since she was at school. She now has adult children. So, it has inspired people who would not usually write to have a go.”

Oxford Mail:

All the seasonal poems are of varying lengths and most of them reflect on scenes in East Hagbourne starting in spring and ending in winter.

Ms Benson says she enjoyed illustrating the book. She has included a map of the village with the stops for walkers to follow and drawings of cottages, the pub, wildlife and even an illustration of poet Mr Phipps in his garden.

Oxford Mail:

The poetry trail walk starts in the north of the village and flows around village landmarks such as the village hall, the church, and the allotments.

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The seasonal poem titles include; ‘All Call’, ‘Day Play’, ‘Trust Must’, ‘Flow Grow’, ‘Think Drink’, ‘Feed Need’, ‘Take Make’, ‘Gleam Dream’, ‘Speak Keep’, ‘Live Give’, ‘Above Love’, ‘Ring Sing’, and ‘Release Peace’.

Oxford Mail:

A guided tour of the village with poetry readings launched the first anthology. However, this year the poets decided to hold a small reading in the church.

The new trail guide was celebrated with music from local folk musicians and the writers read their poetry in a small event of 30 people.

The Poets’ Trail anthology, ‘The Four Seasons’ can currently only be purchased in the East Hagbourne village post office.