» Trails of the Unexpected (Vol 1)

This is an invitation to really look at this city - in the way that no-one who lives here actually looks at it anymore:

"This city has a slightly ambivalent relationship with water. It embraces it in the 'right' places and hides it in the 'wrong' places. Maybe that's not so unusual. I couldn't say. But this water, well, it doesn't stay hidden, it oozes out of any holes it can find, up through the pores of this city whenever it gets the chance. And each time it escapes into the open, it brings out all the stories that it carries under the city with it..."

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Talking Birds’ Trails of the Unexpected invites you to explore this city of hidden rivers and untimely watches on foot. Treading a fine line between fact and fiction, the trail wanders playfully across Coventry city centre’s time and space, encouraging you to unearth hidden treasures along the way.

You can follow the self-guided route on your smartphone or download a printable map, and then walk the trail alone or with friends. There will be clues to find and evidence to gather – and the opportunity to take the weight off your feet in a friendly pub at your journey’s end.

JUNE 2016: DUE TO DEVELOPMENT WORK IN COVENTRY CITY CENTRE, THE BEGINNING OF THIS ROUTE IS CURRENTLY INACCESSIBLE! IN THE MEANTIME, IF YOU DOWNLOAD THE MAP, YOU WILL SEE THAT IT IS POSSIBLE TO JOIN THE TRAIL AT THE ENTRANCE TO PRIORY PLACE, OPPOSITE POOL MEADOW BUS STATION (MARKER 03)

» WHAT TO EXPECT/HOW IT WORKS: The trail you are following tells a story in several parts. Hidden along the way are picture clues - close up photographs of the texture of the city. When you are close to a place which hides a part of the story, a picture clue will pop up on your screen - and then you have to find the place where the photo was taken. When you do, you'll be able to read the next bit of the story. Take your time and look around you - see how many things you can spot that you've never noticed before. Explore the details; look at your city as you've never looked at it before; see it in the way that strangers might see it.

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» SMALL BUT IMPORTANT PRINT: The route is accessible to pushchair and wheelchair users, and takes about 45 minutes to one hour to complete. It involves a hill or two and some hunting for picture clues. You can follow the route on a downloadable printed map, but you will only be able to access the picture clues and narrative through a smartphone web browser. (Without giving too much away, you might also want to have a set of headphones in your pocket for later...!)

This trail is a prototype and, as such, may be (just occasionally!) subject to glitches - if it doesn't work for you, please accept our apologies - but please also let us know [via this form].

When you begin, you will be asked to allow us [via developer ashleyjamesbrown.com] to access your current location - please click YES otherwise it won't work...! The web pages use your location while you are following the trail but no data is recorded or kept and, as soon as you close the webpages, the website will no longer be keeping tabs on your phone or have any idea where you are.

The route is based in Coventry city centre, some of the areas it visits are less used and may not be well lit after dark - we'd advise you to wear shoes which are ok to walk some distance in, take care when using routes that are also used by vehicles - and please exercise the same caution in waving your smartphone about that you would in any unfamiliar city centre environment, as Talking Birds can't be held responsible for any loss or damage suffered.

The pub at the trail's end allows children in up until 4pm.

When you've read all this, and you are ready - get yourself to the junction of Bishop Street and Hales St. [If you're coming in a car, you can park in the Pay&Display car park on Bishop Street, off J1 of the Ring Road]. Once you are getting close to the Old Grammar School [approximate postcode CV1 1HU], open your phone browser and click on the button below...

Ready?

We hope you enjoy the walk.

If you complete the trail, please let us know what you thought, via our contact page. Thanks!









links to Talking Birds online shoplinks to Olympic Torch Relay commission Song for a Phoenixlinks to Ant and Cleo