Follow in the footsteps of Kate Mosse’s best-selling novel, The Taxidermist’s Daughter

This April Kate Mosse’s thrilling gothic mystery, The Taxidermist’s Daughter, makes its world premiere on stage at Chichester Festival Theatre as part of the Theatre’s 60th anniversary celebrations.

 

Based on the best-selling novel, the play is inspired by Mosse's love of Chichester and the surrounding areas, with the  story taking place in and around the historic city and Chichester Harbour.

Now visitors to the area can follow in the footsteps of The Taxidermist’s Daughter, with a new self-guided trail beginning in the harbourside village of Fishbourne, home of Fishbourne Roman Palace. The walk covers 3 miles and starts in the churchyard of St Peter & St Mary, Fishbourne. The graveyard here is where lead character, Connie Gifford, hides during a storm in the terrible spring of 1912.

It leads on across meadows, over a footbridge through fields which would have been home to grazing cows in 1912, when the story is set, and passes some of Fishbourne’s historic houses and cottages. ‘Pendrills’ with its thatched roof is a notable point as next door to this cottage is the location of the character Mr Crowther’s imaginary cottage ‘Slay Cottage’.

Standing opposite the Mill Pond, walkers will see drakes, mallards, coots and swans. The route leads south-west from here around the bottom of the pond. Mosse explains “When Connie finds a body washed up on the edge of the creek in their garden, she sends their maid Mary to fetch help. Mary would have run through the reed mace along this path by the duck pond where once the old Salt Mill stood; today you can see the remains of the wheel and the old sluice gate, which would have been opened during a storm to try to stop flooding.”

Onwards through the reed beds, where the wind through the rushes is utterly atmospheric – a moment to pause and appreciate, before continuing to the edge of the estuary where Mosse played as a child and the imaginary location for Connie’s house; ‘Blackthorne House’, close to a single oak tree and hedges of hawthorne, blackthorn and white blossom Chichester Cathedral.


The route returns northwards to the church past the The Bull’s Head and The Woolpack Inn.

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