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

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