the Poppy Trail



Proposed by a Sowood WI member, the Poppy Trail Initiative was adopted to be the focus of our fundraising during 2017. It has now been developed to remember and celebrate the lives of all those affected by the war, and honour those young men of Stainland and District, who were lost in World War 1. As a community of women, Sowood WI wish to recognise and acknowledge the sacrifice of those men and also the women and families they left behind, at the 100 year anniversary of the Great War.

Sowood WI members have researched the 98 local men known to have died, many of whom are commemorated on local memorials. A book has been created, providing a tribute to each individual, and allows us a brief look into their lives. We can recognise the houses they lived in, the jobs they did before going to war, and sadly, appreciate the depth of feeling of parents, wives and family members when they were informed that their boys and men would not be coming home to them. Many of the bereaved were moved to publish their own tributes to their loved ones. For some families the loss was magnified further: one family losing a father and son, a further two families losing three sons each, four families losing two sons each and a wife losing both a husband and a brother. Such was the impact of this loss on the families and communities they left behind, that for many years after the war Sowood was known as “The Spinsters' Village”.

In addition to this memorial book, through fundraising activities supported by our generous local community, we have created more visible and permanent memorials. These will ensure our local men are remembered, as new and younger communities walk through our villages getting on with daily life.  Four walking trails have been created around the areas of Sowood, Stainland and Holywell Green, passing their homes, their relatives’ homes and the places our boys knew well. When walking in the footsteps of those who came before us, you have the opportunity to appreciate our beautiful rural surroundings, some of which is little changed since our men left to go to war over 100 years ago. The views and thoughts  you have, may be very similar to their last memories of home.

You will see commemorative poppies and window plaques as you walk the routes and throughout the area, located at or near to the homes of individual soldiers. New seating , identified by commemorative plaques has been provided in 21 locations around the route, including the local parks, where  we hope young and old may be prompted to  stop and consider the past, or just take time to sit, contemplate and remember old friends.

Most of the men in this book are honoured on a number of local memorials. We are particularly grateful to have been allowed to bring an historic memorial plaque, and a marble triptych, out of more than 30 years storage, for the public to appreciate again.

We invite you to read the stories of so many ‘ordinary’ men, and acknowledge their extraordinary actions and sacrifice with respect and gratitude.



The walking routes

We have created four walking routes through our beautiful villages, marking the homes and important sites for our fallen soldiers.  

Red and black benches have been installed along the routes for rest and to remember.  Red and black picnic benches have been placed in parks and play areas for children to use and hopefully never forget the reason they are there.

Poppy seeds were planted and more will follow over the coming years to extend the display.

We hope you are able to follow these walks, enjoy our lovely countryside and remember the sacrifice that was made for  us a century ago.