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News story

Hastings families go on the hunt for lost words hidden around the town!

24 May 2019

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We're encouraging families in Hastings to get outside and practise their communication and literacy skills this summer with a new Lost Words Trail around the town launching today!

As part of the Get Hastings Reading campaign, the trail will take families to eight locations along the seafront to find a nature-themed word at each venue. Families are encouraged to take part in simple activities along the way to get them talking about the great outdoors and the lost words they have found.

The Lost Words Trail is inspired by The Lost Words: A Spell Book, written by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris, and features beautiful words and artwork from the book. It aims to reconnect children with nature and the great outdoors by exploring words that are falling out of common usage. Research suggests that children have a much deeper and broader understanding of the world around them if they experience the outdoors. Spending time outside as a family gives children the chance to talk about their surroundings, learn new words and improve their communication skills.

Get Hastings Reading was launched by the National Literacy Trust and Hastings Opportunity Area in January this year to improve the literacy outcomes of children and young people in Hastings and promote a love of reading throughout the town.

As families complete the trail, they will also find letters which they can unscramble to reveal a hidden word. They can then use their hidden word to enter a prize draw to win a beautiful copy of The Lost Words: A Spell Book or family tickets to a show at the White Rock Theatre. Families can enter the draw by email or by dropping their Lost Word Trail map off at Hastings Library.

The trail launches today Friday 24 May and will run through to the end of the summer holidays. Free copies of the Lost Words Trail map are available at many of the participating venues below, and families can also download a copy of the leaflet.

Venues featured on the trail include:

  • White Rock Theatre
  • Hastings Library
  • Hastings Lifeguards
  • The play hut by the beach
  • Hastings Lifeboat Station
  • East Hill lift lower station
  • Hastings Fishermen’s Museum
  • Shipwreck Museum

Get Hastings Reading is also working with the Hastings Health and Wellbeing centres to run trails in different parts of the town throughout the summer. Partnering with the Education Futures Trust, The Fellowship of St Nicholas, Optivo and the YMCA, people will be able to discover the lost words on their doorstep in Church Wood, Gensing Gardens and St Helens Wood. More information to follow very soon on

Graeme Quinnell, Manager of Get Hastings Reading, said:

“We’re really lucky in Hastings to have both charming buildings and a beautiful coastline, and we’re delighted to be able to profile them both with this great new trail! We hope the activities will encourage children and parents alike to form literacy habits that will increase their confidence, and inspire them to interact more with each other and the environment around them.”

Richard Meddings, Chair of the Hastings Opportunity Area said:

“Just as the sun appears to be coming out for another glorious summer, we hope this fantastic initiative will bring families out onto our beautiful coast line. The Lost Words Trail is a truly immersive approach to reading and a chance for children to connect with their imagination.”

Find out more about Get Hastings Reading and The Lost Words trail at

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