Wednesday, May 11, 2011

GUEST POST Creative Perambulations: Marking the boundaries of Sherwood Forest

Nottinghamshire poet Dave Wood describes his plans to walk and celebrate Sherwood Forest's ancient boundaries.

The Creative Perambulations have become a whirlwind of hopes for the best, fears for the worst and a long awaited dream that I should be paid appropriately for a large and exciting project leading to an intense body of imaginative and professional work. It brings together my being-ness of writing, my career in community arts and my love of dandering through the woods and the cityscape.

As with all billowing ideas, it started with a passing reference or utterance; let me explain. I'd been to a talk at a county library. The representative of Nottinghamshire Archives had come to speak about Mediaeval Nottinghamshire and had mentioned the Perambulations; a way of the current King making sure that the land wasn't being used or taken without permission. Another theory was that it was a marking of the seasons. Although never too late for further research, it’s too late to say I’m going back. This is the hero’s point of no return and I still have that childlike judder in the heart.

The last Perambulation was undertaken in 1662 and only written about (retrospectively) in the 1800s.

So now, after the initial talk late(ish) last year, I’ve put the project together, sent out the press release, made contacts (and this list, I promise, is never ending) and applied to the Arts Council for the funding. The form went in at 1 a.m. I went to bed at 1.30 and fell down the stairs sometime later that night.

So here’s the project

I follow the last Sherwood Forest Perambulations route as closely as possible; there may be (actually there are) busy roads, fences to traverse and farmers’ lands to be negotiated (that’s to be expected). On the way, I run public workshops, record thoughts, take notes and (if appropriate) give performances based around the area I’m currently in. Any information which can be used from the public or myself will be; ideas will be smithy’d in to poetry, story and/or imaginative reminiscence.

Members of the public, bearing in mind some areas will no longer live in a forested area, will be interviewed and invited to contribute as widely and as wildly as possible about their locality, culture and environment.

A large majority off the creative output will be blogged. There will also be postings on Facebook and Twitter. Again, all encouraging noises will be made for the public to engage with these new ways of communication as well as the old ones of course..

There will also be a one off broadsheet; A3 in size, it will be copyright free to enable quick and further dissemination of the resulting creativity.

I’m gathering support, left and centre. Sherwood Forest Trust are on board with their Special Trees Project; looking at the old trees of Sherwood and supplying new ones to plant on the Perambulatory way, the Woodland Trust, Experience Nottinghamshire, Broxtowe Green Party, Save Sherwood Forest, the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers, the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, the Friends of Bestwood Country Park and lots of locals have sent letters of positivity and gung-ho.

I’m exhausted thinking about it; I’ll sleep better once I’d out there and doing it. Anyone wishing to be kept in touch can follow my blog. If you’d like to contribute or join in, then please email me: davewrite2002[{@}]

Be excited. Be very excited.

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