The battle for the heart of Albion

In Plymouth, past the Barbican and past the point where the Mayflower is meant to have set sail, along the coast towards the Hoe beneath the harsh angular stone of the Citadel, look out over the ivy-clad concrete wall to the sea, and then look again with your eyes tuned to the wild. On the […]

Magical meadows

Every place holds its own stories: echoes of people, wildlife and the land itself. Widecombe-in-the-Moor looks like a rural idyll, a thriving small community tucked away in a Dartmoor valley surrounded by heath and moor and woodland. Any student of Devon folklore will know this place holds some great stories, of Dewer the devil, of […]

The art of wild plants

Before 2017, the last time I remember sitting down with a sketchpad and specifically drawing plants was on the Scilly Isles when I was about 11. We were on holiday on St Mary’s, marvelling at exotics like Datura, the strange new discovery of ‘Whistling Jacks’, the corn marigolds everywhere. I drew plant after plant, experimenting […]

High Kings and heritage

I’ve been very privileged to work with High Bickington Primary School recently. High Bickington is a small village in north Devon where the church is next to the primary school, with a special doorway between the two. Following my work with the school on community trails and landscape, with Devon Wildlife Trust through Beaford Arts’ […]

Tree tragedy

Elm hateth man, and waiteth Till every gust be laid. Rudyard Kipling (1906) There’s a particular book on my bookshelf that’s been high in my mind recently.  Written by Gerald Wilkinson and published in 1978, it’s called Epitaph for the Elm. I found it in a little bookshop in Norwich in the 1990s, when the regenerating […]

Weeds and wonders

I spent all of yesterday in Great Torrington in north Devon. The good people of Torrington, and arts company Wolf and Water, are holding a festival to celebrate the Reverend Keble Martin, sometime vicar of the parish and author of The Concise British Flora in Colour. This groundbreaking book was published in 1965, and had […]

Rich connections

More of the Devon coast to coast walk today. In early summer, Devon is bursting with greenery and birdsong and life of all kinds. We are truly blessed to live in such an abundant part of the world. Everything out there has its own story. The baby bird, just fledged, a tiny scrap of belligerent life, vulnerable […]

Direction of travel

It’s the Spring Equinox, the time of equal day and night, that will tip over into the summer months and warmer times. It’s meant to be a time of balance, equilibrium, and calm. Allegedly. Looking around me, I see very few people in a state of balance. Over the last few weeks, I have been drawn […]

A river of hope?

Stories will find you, stories that fit the energy of the time. Or is it the other way around? As part of South Devon Storytellers we have been working through the Norse myths, transforming the self-consciously sparkly Totnes into a world of ice, gods, giants and mountains. On Monday I told stories of Loki: the Father […]

Who left all those rocks lying around?

Welcome to my blog. The first post is all about … Giants. Ah, giants. Clumsy, not very bright, slightly thuggish, ham-handed, hairy brutes, with gruff voices and violent tendencies.  They’re slain by valiant knights in shining armour, to win castles and ladies and that kind of thing. Right? The old tales from the British Isles […]