A magical evening in Water Vole Woodland
Access to Nature, which is run by Natural England and funded by the Big Lottery Fund through the Changing Spaces programme, has run over 100 successful projects since it launched in 2010.
In this blog Kerry Rowe, Education Coordinator at Lawrence Weston Community Farm, tells us about an imaginative event recently held to engage the local community.
Lawrence Weston Community Farm runs a community-managed Access to Nature project, Discovering Nature, in the Bristol area. The farm aims to improve the quality of life for local people and its service-users through a range of innovative activities.
To celebrate the culmination of our Discovering Nature project we held a special event to give the volunteers and our supporters a big thank you for their hard work. We invited Whispering Woods group to hold a magical event which included fireside tales, aerial artistry, music, dancing and twilight adventures in our newly opened Water Vole Woodland.
A programme of activities led up to the big event, including a woodland trapeze workshop for children, storytelling and lantern making. Four young people received training from Knowle West Media Centre giving them the skills needed to act as our press photographers on the night.
At the event itself a cold and frosty evening saw 80 people gather, wrapped up warmly. As the crowd waited for the event to begin, quiet speculation grew about what the evening held in store. We started by circling around the fire. Young children sat on knees and older ones were already mesmerised by the jumping flames. The scene was set by the storyteller and then off we trailed, following huge fire beacons into the woodland.
Stepping over a bridge lit by candles we felt a shiver of excitement as up in the trees a beautiful figure swung on a trapeze strung between the branches. The woodland, so familiar to us in the day with its chirruping birds, was suddenly magical and mystical. Our journey around the woodland was interspersed with whispering storytellers, musicians and wonderful tree high performers leading us on a story of twists and turns.
The finale drew many gasps of awe as the performer bound in silk ropes danced high above our heads in the trees. The evening is still fondly remembered by everyone that participated and has inspired many to make return visits to the farm and the woodland.
To find out more about Lawrence Weston Community Farm check out their YouTube film.
The Access to Nature funding for Lawrence Weston Community Farm comes to an end in March 2014. The farm has recently been granted £456,544 from the Big Lottery Fund through the Reaching Communities programme. The funding will be used to build a Community Café and Training Facility. It is envisaged that construction will start in May 2014 and that it will be open for business towards the end of the year.