New Beowulf and Grendel adventure trail to launch at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village

Ben Ridgeon and Steph Paull at Grendel’s Mother’s Lair. Picture: CHRISTOPHER MORRIS PR.

Ben Ridgeon and Steph Paull at Grendels Mothers Lair. Picture: CHRISTOPHER MORRIS PR. - Credit: Christopher Morris PR

A trail that aims to bring the epic Anglo-Saxon saga of Beowulf and Grendel to life is being launched over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

Ben Ridgeon and Steph Paull at Grendel’s Mother’s Lair. Picture: CHRISTOPHER MORRIS PR.

Ben Ridgeon and Steph Paull at Grendels Mothers Lair. Picture: CHRISTOPHER MORRIS PR. - Credit: Christopher Morris PR

Based at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, the new tourist attraction is the culmination of an 18-month project to create a permanent adventure trail dedicated to one of the most important works of Old English literature.

There will be a special launch weekend for the attraction - the first of its kind in the country - from August 26 to 28.

The Beowulf and Grendel Trail is 1km long and has been created through a partnership between St Edmundsbury Borough Council, The Friends of West Stow, the Breaking New Ground Project, The West Stow Fishing Syndicate, Bury Schools Partnership, The Heart of Oak Company and six leading local artists.

Jo Rayner, St Edmundsbury cabinet member for leisure and culture, said: “I welcome the creative partnership that has produced such an evocative response to the landscape. It is based on storytelling of the most successful kind, and there is something of interest for everyone, on every visit.”

Finishing touches are being made to the information panels and the last of six large sculptures - Grendel’s Mother - will arrive later this month.

The prow of the Anglo-Saxon Boat sculpture rises out of the heathland as the first stop, leading to the Lair of Grendel’s Mother amidst wild hops and hawthorn.

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The centre piece is the Heath Dragon sleeping amongst native heathland plants, and the final stop is the Burnt Hall emerging from the oaks and silver birch, all celebrating the indigenous landscape.

Steph Paull, heritage officer for learning who will oversee school and family visits, said: “We’re very excited about the trail as it opens up huge learning possibilities not only about the story of Beowulf and Grendel but also the Anglo-Saxon way of life, their beliefs and how they interacted with the natural landscape. The trail will appeal to schools seeking to develop English and History skills through exploring our literary heritage, but will also appeal to walkers and families enjoying the beautiful country park.”

Beowulf, an Old English epic poem consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines, is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Old English literature.

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