Interactive church yard ‘trails’ become unexpected summer hit


A group of churches on Dartmoor is welcoming an increasing number of people over the summer after installing interactive prayer ‘trails’ in churchyards.
A father holds his two children as they smile to the camera while enjoying a so-called trail in a church's churchyard

The idea of prayer trails began during lockdown, led by Heidi Lewis, Mission and Families Development Worker at St Andrew’s Church in Ashburton, St Mary’s in Holne, and St Peter’s Buckland-in-the-Moor. 

Each ‘trail’ consists of a series of stations including a Bible verse, a reflection point and a QR code linked to relevant music located throughout the churchyard.

Today, the interactive churchyards continue to appeal to families, as well as passers-by enjoying the green spaces near the church. 

Josh, from the Dartmoor village of Holne (pictured above, with son, Harry and daughter, Erin) said: “We like to go out for family walks in the evening and we’ve done the trim trail a few times. The children really enjoyed doing it. 

“For many children, their first access to church is a service, where it can be hard for them to sit still. This is a good way for them to be active instead.”

The impact of the prayer stations has since reached far beyond Dartmoor and even Devon – with other churches across the country now adapting the creative prayer trails for use in their own church contexts. 

Heidi reflects: “It has been lovely to see how they have adapted the stations and built on the ideas to suit their own communities.

“For me, the most exciting part is knowing that people who do not attend church are engaging with the church in this way – and that the impact of these prayer stations is reaching beyond our own benefice.”

More information:

  • The Church of England's Vision and Strategy for the 2020s is helping us to be a Church which proclaims and lives out the Good News of Jesus Christ afresh in every generation.