I’m pleased to say that I’ve been awarded a Local Artists Bursary by Ginkgo Projects, funded by Bloor Homes for the Kings Gate Public Art Programme, which I am using to write some new poems in response to the landscape and heritage of the area in and around Amesbury, Wiltshire.
I live in the west of the county, about 30 minutes away from Amesbury. At this stage of the project, I’ve made a few visits to the area, taken some photos on my phone and written some notes in my notebook. A new project has, of course, meant a new notebook!
I’m really lucky to be in touch with Holly Corfield-Carr, who told me about the Local Artist Bursary Scheme, and my initial research has also included exploring the beautiful materials she assembled from her Loop in the Landscape project.
Loop in the Landscape is a publication in three parts to mark the beginning of a long-term artists’ engagement with the ancient Stonehenge landscape and its relationship with the nearest town of Amesbury, a site which some claim to be the UK’s longest continuously-occupied settlement.
During one of my first visits to Amesbury, on an extremely hot day, I was glad to take refuge in the cool interior of St Mary and St Melor Church, dating from 979 AD. The church has a long and fascinating history that I’m beginning to learn more about.
I also walked around Woodhenge, after driving past Stonehenge en route.
Woodhenge is an atmospheric Neolithic site close to Stonehenge. Probably built about 2300 BC, it was originally believed to be the remains of a large burial mound, surrounded by a bank and ditch almost completely destroyed by ploughing. Aerial photography detected rings of dark spots in a crop of wheat, and today concrete markers replace the six concentric rings of timber posts which are believed to have once supported a ring-shaped building.
and I’ve also visited Figsbury Ring, north east of Salisbury. Thought to be an Iron Age Hill Fort, the presence of “an enigmatic inner ditch” has led many archaeologists to believe that the site began as a late Neolithic henge. Another henge!
So lots to think about and plenty of ideas and notes about long barrows, round, oval, bowl and bell-shaped barrows, stone circles, crop circles and henges. Yes, I’m writing some Wiltshire poems.