CHILDREN’S author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre has unveiled her latest creation involving the wildlife of Bovey Tracey in her new work Cheddar Churchmouse’s Bovey Bestiary.

Her new book gives children the chance to spot up to 35 animals in the parish church of St Peter, Paul and Thomas in Bovey Tracey, with some very obvious such as the brass eagle lectern, but others only possible to spot with very keen eyes. 

Sarah explained: ‘It was the tiny sleeping dragons on the beautiful carved screen that sparked the idea.

‘Many people have been going to the church for years and never spotted the dragons, or the tiny flying unicorn, or flipped up three wooden seats to see the surprising carvings beneath them. 

‘Here was my chance to do just that, to a wider audience, and help them discover the wonders in here for themselves. 

‘I featured animals, because children love them, but there are even more amazing things to spot, I could have filled five booklet.’

If children want to include more things they find on their hunt, Sarah has provided an extra page for them to draw these in.  

On the following page, the Bovey Bestiary’s miniature tour guide, Cheddar, also encourages them to imagine which one of their favourite animals or Bible characters they would love to see included in the church, and to design something to fill the empty niche provided. 

The Rev Graham Hamilton, the vicar at Bovey PPT, said: ‘We love to welcome visitors of all ages to our Sunday services, and we keep the church building open every day so that people can come and sit quietly, pray or explore its treasures. 

‘I am delighted that this booklet will help people discover more of its beauty, and the devotion of past generations in Bovey.’

Sarah explained Bovey Bestiary is more about getting people looking, and thinking about the craftsmanship that went into the church, not about the more detailed history behind each animal. 

But she consulted with retired clergyman Canon Michael Sansom, who preaches at Bovey PPT and leads tours of the church, to make sure she hadn’t written any clangers, and was thrilled by his enthusiasm for the project. 

The Bovey Bestiary is available to visitors on the front desk inside the main church and in the gallery at Bovey Paradiso.