We are looking for contacts, local community groups, interested individuals, routes into funding, places to exhibit, support, volunteers, publicity and people to network with in order to develop our projects.
Please contact us by emailing milesanddacombe@virginmedia.com.

Friday 28 November 2014

Forward Footing - Test Walk 2 - Canons Ashby

Our second Test Walk commenced from the car park at  Canons Ashby on a glorious autumn morning with a group of walkers from the area, gathered together by artist Sonia Hawes, and we headed off towards the village of Moreton Pinkney.

As we crossed the fields, we introduced our first activity, Collect, with the aim that people would connect with their surroundings, enjoy the colours, textures, sights, sounds and smells and create a collection of memories of the walk.

Collect -  gatheraccumulateassemble, amassstockpilepile upheap upstore (up)hoardsave, massaccrue.

a crowd collected in the squaregatherassemblemeetmustercongregate,conveneconvergeflock together.

he collected her thoughtsgathersummon (up)musterget togethermarshal.

On our scoping walk we enjoyed exploring the village hall and the playing field in Moreton Pinkney, the old pub with its new extension, still not in use, with beautiful trees, a small green and benches for sitting. Soaking up the late autumn sun and the sounds in this space, we all found places to sit to work on our individual parts for the first intervention.

We installed our interventions inside the bus shelter on the edge of the green.

A gallery of artworks made during this intervention will be shared at a later stage of the project.

We all gathered inside the bus shelter for a Private View before continuing our walk.

We were joined by a curious cat

spotted a Comma Butterfly pretending to be a dry leaf

and made plans for foraging trips to collect blackberries and sloes, shared recipes and foraging locations. We also shared memories of other walks, thought about why we walk and how we might encourage others to explore their own surroundings creatively. There is a great emphasis on walking for health, but we find that taking a walk, in a group or on our own is a great stimulus for creativity.

Our next intervention was created at the entrance to a field with a great view of Canons Ashby Priory church of St Mary. We were delighted with the many ways people chose to engage with the activity; one walker decided to use her own "walking pebble" and just hold it up to the view and contemplate her surroundings in a private, personal way.

Pebble - a small stone made smooth and round by the action of water or sandORIGIN late Old Englishrecorded as the first element of papel-stān[pebble-stone,] pyppelrīpig [pebble-stream,] of unknown origin. The word is recorded in place names from the early 12th century onward.

The final stage of our walk 

took us through a beautiful wild flower meadow

giving us the opportunity to wade through flowers and grasses.

"The loss of over 97% of our wildflower-rich grasslands has had a huge impact on bumblebees, which have seen simultaneous dramatic declines. Even with good management, many grasslands have lost their wildflower seed bank so seed introduction is needed to bring the flowers back.
Restoring or creating a meadow will, over time, help to increase the range and number of flowers that it supports, increasing the quantity and quality of foraging habitat for bumblebees.
Wildflower-rich grasslands are the most important habitat for bumblebees as they provide flowers throughout the summer and contain many nectar and pollen-rich plant species favoured by bumblebees."
The Bumble Bee Conservation Trust 

After a wonderful lunch we shared our thoughts about the day and many of the participants felt inspired to try out some of the ways of walking and making interventions with their grand children. This made us feel very hopeful about the value of making the Landscape Intervention Kit - we will be working on a more creative name for the kit, so if you have any suggestions please send them to us!

The National Trust at Canons Ashby have a lovely list of  50 things to do before you're 11¾

Friday 21 November 2014

Forward Footing - Test Walk 1 - Desborough

Through our contacts at The Green Patch in Kettering we were able to link in with a Health Walk Group that meets every Wednesday morning in Desborough and walks for about an hour and a half. The previous day we had scoped the walk and planned a route, seen an upturned car, walked through a field of ponies, explored a derelict farmhouse and had be halted but not stopped by a closed off right of way.

We planned a number of test interventions, including a mini protest, however once we met the group our route was guided by their knowledge of the area and as time was short we only conducted two of the test interventions - "Befriend" and "Platform".

Befriend - make friends withmake a friend oflook afterkeep an eye onbe of service tolend a helping hand to, helpprotectside withstand byencourage.

The group chose a stopping point where they worked in pairs, shared skills, made and altered arrangements. One participant said "I've never spent so long looking at an ash tree before".

Platform - stagedaisrostrumpodiumsoapbox.

On the second stage of the walk the group had really warmed into it so once we introduced the idea for Platform they spontaneously split off to work in two groups and then compared their creations.

The walk ended with a feeling that we had all discovered and created something, Carole and Jo were encouraged by the enthusiasm with which the group responded to the ideas and their genuine interest in the project.

There will be a gallery of the artworks created after all our Intervention walks have been completed in 2015.

Friday 14 November 2014

Forward Footing - Experimentation

We began thinking about our new project Forward Footing during a walk in Northampton

We looked at details

thought about platforms

and staging posts for interventions.

We discussed where people might make

 a temporary intervention during a walk.

In Kettering we spent more time exploring urban, everyday spaces

ledges, windowsills, greenery, disregarded areas and signage.

We also explored a range of easily obtainable items that held 'making on the move' potential as we want to create a kit that is portable, fun, easy to use, inspirational and accessible.

We met local people during both walks and shared some of our thoughts and observations to gauge whether we were on the right track with the contents of our kit and how it might benefit a wide range of ages and interests.

We came away from these two walks with a library of ideas for the kit.

We planned that our next three walks would be trial walks to test out some of these ideas. We'll be blogging about these walks and our progress in weekly posts over the next few months - so check in with us again soon!