The Ancestor’s Trail is a walking event combining hill walking, science and music. We invite you to join us on this ‘biological pilgrimage’ celebrating our shared origins with all life on Earth. We have draped Darwin’s Tree of Life over the Quantocks, lining up its branches with the hills’ many footpaths. Based on Richard Dawkins’ book ‘The Ancestor’s Tale’, the Trail will guide you back 3.8 billion years. Each branch of the tree will rendezvous with the Human trail at specific times (see our Google map) such that the ever-increasing band of ‘pilgrims’ arrives together at the Dawn of Life ~ Kilve beach, appropriately famous for its fossils.

Along the way and at its conclusion, we will encounter a range of musical and scientific contributions. Seeing as evolution is one big biodiversity machine, the Trail raises money for nature conservation. Each year we celebrate a different branch of Darwin’s Tree and because 2012 is our ’Year of the Bird’, our charities are the RSPB and World Land Trust.


but we also offer:

1. Two Evening Events

2. Trail park and ride servicefrom Kilve Court on Sunday morning which will drop you at the start of your chosen Trail, so you walk back to your car

3.  Accommodation at Kilve Court

- all of which require booking in advance - click on the Ancestor’s Trail logo to your left for details. 

CHOOSING YOUR TRAIL - Many people walk the Human Trail (13.5 miles), but there are numerous alternative shorter routes (some less than a mile) all starting from local Quantock villages and towns.Use this LINK  for more details.

You’ll need to REGISTER  -we need to know how many to expect on each Trail. St John’s ambulance will be in attendance. The Trail has links with QUANTOCK ECO because we share their biodiversity and sustainability agendas and hope to provide an opportunity for people of the Quantock villages/towns to meet and walk together. 

Can’t make it this year? Add yourself to our MAILING LIST and head up your e-mail ‘2013 Trail reminder’ and we’ll keep you posted.

The event is sponsored by



Saturday 25th August:

Afternoon:  Arrival  by car  at KILVE COURT (in Kilve village near Watchet/Williton)  - or by public transport to Taunton. This year we offer an AT taxi service  to provide pick up at Taunton Rail/Coach stations and/or drop off at Kilve Court at pre-specified times before and after the event -£15 paid via Crowdfunder.

Afternoon/Evening EVENT 1:   3pm onwards:  At Kilve Court we will offer a series of lectures ranging from evolutionary biology to biodiversity and humanism (see speakers and performers section for details). Tickets required (see our crowdfunder pitch) Meal included. RICHARD DAWKINS is now confirmed as our keynote speaker.

Sunday 26th August:  

Early breakfast at Kilve Court (for those who have bought accommodation packages via Crowdfunder) .

The TRAIL – Free to all

(but use of AT Trail bus requires booking via our Crowdfunder pitch)

9am: Catch the AT buses  from Kilve Court to your chosen Trail head (or make your own transport /car share arrangements as you wish).

11am:  The Human Trail begins at Kingston St Mary (13 miles long) . The easiest option is to get off the AT bus at Kingston St Mary with most folks and simply follow everyone along. If you are worried about keeping up and getting lost you can print off our ROUTE DETAILS from our Google Map in advance (click anywhere along the Human Trail and then on ROUTE DETAILS) – I’ve added photos/details to make following the Trail easy.

For folks not wishing to walk as far, simply take an AT bus and get off at one of the other specified drop off places shown with bus icons on the Google map – or make your own travel arrangements via car share etc. Clicking on each Trail line for walking distances.

If you are less confident about map reading choose one of the Trails on which we have allocated Trail marshals – coloured BLUE on our Google map – they will guide you to your rendezvous.

However, for the trail blazers among you, I have created detailed Trail route documents with photos and timings to help you negotiate the vagaries of the Quantock footpaths (click on the line of the Trail you wish to walk , and then click on ROUTE DETAILS on our Google map – ALL trails have these details).

Around 6pm : we will all arrive together at Kilve beach (representing the origin of life). Refreshments, including our very own ‘Primordial soup’, will be available.

Evening EVENT 2:  At Kilve Court we will host our second evening of celebration – a cabaret including longer renditions from many of the acts featured along the Trail. : 8pm onwards - meal included. Tickets required - see our Crowdfunder pitch.

 Read more