Saturday, 25 June 2011

Wycoller Country Park

In a long-running project with the Tauheedul Islamic Girls High School in Blackburn, we had one of our regular visits to Wycoller Country Park in Trawden ( These are always adventurous occasions, but after several previous visits, this time the girls decided we should go for a longer walk and out of that came the following….

the story of the eight bridges
TIGHS at Wycoller Country Park, 14, 15th June 2011

The first bridge is in the village, the only one we drive across,
But the post van drives through the river.
Packhorse bridge, our favourite bridge,
With ancient, mossy stones and wobbly lines

Which way to go?
Climb, climb, climbing too many steps,
Up the long hill to the Atom,
The famous Oval Shape?
We take the unknown road, the new path
Up the road, over the fields

A flat stone bridge,
The rain makes puddles on it
Two slabs of stone cross the river

A tall conker tree
Beside Wycoller Hall,
Wycoller ruins,
The fallen house with a giant fireplace for sitting in and
Secret steps to climb

A bridge to walk on, with stone walls
Over clear, clean, bubbling water

In the fields, sheep were talking
And the lambs are running around.
Rabbits scurry away when we walk past.
Horses on the road but no dogs on this hot summers day
Rest by this old tree
Too many flles are buzzing about.

The wind blows the leaves of the tree,
They rustle,
They sound like a monster breathing.
Birds are singing all around

Up the path through the field,
We’ve never been so near to sheep before.
Hoofprints in mud,
Horses, people, sheep, birds.
A squirrel dashes across the field,
Running back  to the trees as fast as wind.

Up the path to the edge of the wood.
Along the path to the ruined houses.
Across the valley,
There is the Oval Shape!
We have been up there
Now we are here
This valley is hidden

(Keep walking, don’t stop)

Squeeze over a thin bridge.
One at a time.
A narrow bridge.
It wobbles.
Cool and shady under the trees
We are back at the river.

A leaning bridge,
One stone leans across the river,
Ready to fall.
But the water is cool,
Smooth and lovely on our hands

Lunch is waiting!
The road runs over a bridge
You don’t even notice

Purple flowers, blue flowers, pink flowers and white,
Clover, forget-me-not, campion, stitchwort.
Giant butterbur grows like rhubarb
For wrapping butter
To keep it cool,
Huge green umbrellas

Ducks make us laugh,
Ducklings come to say “Hallo”

Past the ruins again
Past the Packhorse bridge,
The last hill
Brings us back,
Pepperhill Barn.
We’re not tired,
We’re still talking,
We’re still laughing,
We’re still smiling,
We’re still enjoying Wycoller

And the eighth bridge?
That is a secret.

A walk in the Park

June hurtles towards a close…..Midsummer came and went in a mix of heavy rain and sudden sunshine

Proejcts also move towards "end of term' completions including a lovely few days in Corporation Park in Blackburn Working as one of a team of artists on a project called "A walk in the Park, becomes so much more", we've been adventuring with a variety of schools looking at the Park as a venue for new activities ( ). My group set off as explorers, investigating the strange plants and fabulous animals we encountered in this distant land (all of a mile from the school!). 

Among our other discoveries were the "other names of trees" - based on leaves and action…so in your own travels, look out for
            Jazzy and the Hip-hop Trees whose leaves dance in the breeze (Birch)
            Spearbeam (Cherry)
            Spikebeam (Holly)
            the Tree of Broken Hearts (Lime) - look for the heart-shaped leaves that will take away your sorrows

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Adventures Everywhere! storytelling workshop, July 2011

ADVENTURES EVERYWHERE – with Gordon MacLellan finding stories in the environment Sunday 24th July2011 Hollowford Centre, Castleton
10am – 3pm
A day to play with words, this workshop will help us find “adventures everywhere”... anywhere. It will offer activities designed to draw inspiration from simple observation, fostering confidence in participants’ own skills and encouraging improvisation within supportive activity structures. The activities used will also allow ideas to merge as a number of short activities flow together to give longer more intricate adventures
We will play with words, using language as another tool to explore, enjoy and celebrate our environment.            We will use spoken, shouted, whispered, sung or written words and will explore exciting ways of holding onto written words in bog books, wild scrolls, mapsticks, water pictures and tales hidden in treasure chests
The activities used here have been tried and tested with family groups, on adult events and with school children - often in situations where Literacy is an issue and activities are needed that remove worry and fear and encourage simple enjoyment of words
Programme will include first words: setting out on an adventure
adventures everywhere: activities for a story-building walk: short activities with minimal equipment for use outside
holding onto adventures: ways of recording our words
bigger stories: working in groups to make quick, longer pieces
Activities: o developing story characters, o deriving adventures from found objects or
artefacts o making your own books o the value of treasure o story bundles
More details of Gordon’s work are available at
Price: £30 + vat (£36 inc vat)
Places are limited and will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis
Payment in advance will secure your place on the programme To book or for further information please contact us at
Tel. 01433 620377
Bring: lunch, outdoor clothes, a sense of fun Materials: provided
Finding Hollowford
Directions can be found on our website:

And so this begins!

A day of sunshine and sudden showers and a lively workshop with Early Years teachers and child-minder sin Cheshire. Exploring school grounds in those showers and creating stories as we went, tales of deep sea starfish (in puddles) and bears in houses in the woods......a time of mess, laughter and some rampant silliness. a good way to spend a summer morning

And setting up a new blog this evening! This is a hasty first post....something more coherent will follow soon!