Works inspired by the Wild Ennerdale Nature Writing Workshop with somewhere-nowhere
We are delighted to share the first in a series of three exhibitions of work produced by attendees of our winter visual art and nature writing workshops, based at Castle Howard, Stirley Community Farm, and Wild Ennerdale. See below for a curated selection that showcases some brilliant images and creative writing from participants in the Wild Ennerdale workshop, accompanied by some words and photographs by Rob Fraser of somewhere-nowhere.
Please note that some of the poems in this exhibition have been shared as images. There are alt-text descriptions of these for screen-reader users, or you can download the relevant poems here as a PDF:
Poems by Hannah Field
What is wild?
A colonial imagining?
Our true nature?
A diversity of beings and
doings? A flowing to be what needs
According to who?
To me, to you, to us?
Seeking solitude, we find
abundant connection and
Seeking quiet, we find
a cacophony of sound.
Remembrance and reverence
Scrambling for light,
not everyone wins.
Losses are mourned.
Seeing the beauty in
preservation isn’t always
We can remember,
write, tell, sing, dance
of what has been lost,
what we don’t want again
and what might become.
Poems by Sarah Kekus
Thursday in February:
Today the valley seems like Mordor
from ‘Lord of the Rings’
The forest looks dark and brooding.
Writhing mist and a lonely tree
amongst the recent felling.
Catkins yellow against a grey sky
A solitary Primrose, soggy but brave.
The ice and blue skies have gone,
replaced by wet
South Westerlies, a rise in temperature.
LISTEN LOOK LANDSCAPE
Stop a while
water dripping on leaves
a bird call
faint rumblings of forest machinery
towering black rocks
clear icy water
ancient farm steads
wind on your skin
Rain on your face
we are part of this landscape
pushing up through cold
green Spears of hope
white petals and green
first flowers of spring.
Poems by Jessica Wortley
There is a voice somewhere at the front of the room,
but I am lost in the drawing of a map of Ennerdale,
which currently has only three names on it: Crag Fell, Grike and Boat How.
Now I am sketching Smithy Beck and the bridge we sat upon
as we tried to capture September, our feet reflected
amongst a thousand golden leaves, falling like confetti.
I draw a red squirrel at Woodfoot and Galloway cattle by the lake,
but I cannot draw the sound they make when they enter the water,
a lumbering into stillness. Like the recognition of a child who has paused
having, for the first time, seen themselves in a puddle.
Hawthorn berries and silver birch have grown around the edges of my page
and the scent of larch creeps in. The voice asks if there are any questions.
Someone mentions winter but all I know is the pine marten hidden within the trees.
The Map Does Not Record the Weather
Beneath the larches, beside the star moss
there was a new type of silence.
It was as if the wind had relinquished,
and handed her power to a late summer sun.
It was roe deer quiet, as if the jade of
and the bright auburn of tree bark had
stolen all sound.
I remember how everything was water,
how it pulsed like a heartbeat
as thoughts were carried off downstream.
A cow wandered into the frame,
filling up the path like ink across a page,
unaware of its importance.
Pinpricks of pink flowers grew
like stitches onto a blanket of green.
White caps of waves slept inside me.
I went down to the lake
to drink in the memory of their spray.
They quenched a need for reflection.
The leaves fell and it was as if
the forest floor was alight.
Soon the trees would become skeletal,
waiting for spring to paint them whole again.
To lie down in a meadow is to feel the earth.
To lie down in a meadow is to be of the earth
and to see the sky as the sun does, like a
To lie down in a meadow is to be in the earth
and to see they sky as the foxglove does,
the way the light shifts under the mosaic
of bee and burnet moth.
To lie down in a meadow is to know the earth
and to see the sky as a fox does,
to sniff the night-scented catchfly
and wonder at the gold of whinchat and beech
and how the sound of water permeates
Cento for Perception
When I crunch through those red leaves
and the squirrel dashes back
across the immense valley,
it speaks with flowers and rain,
sun and beasts,
with the skylarks in early warmth.
It is what is meant by belonging
to whatever crosses your path,
a vastness of miniscule,
where deer and fox graze unafraid.
Sources for these poems: Neil Curry, Kerry Darbishire, Mark Goodwin, Ann Grant, Katie Hale, Adam Horovitz, Tanya Shadrick, and Kathleen Swann.
Poems by Ian Parker
Untitled (Inspired by Film Clip of the River)
“Why does the Liza look green?”
I asked myself as I walked up Ennerdale
beyond the lake for the first time.
The water must be reflecting
the leaves about the stream.
But in the autumn, winter even,
Still the Liza flowed green.
Someone said, “There’s
copper in those hills;
it colours the water,
come rain or shine.”
But here’s a thing:
the Ehen isn’t green.
But its water comes from Ennerdale Lake!
The side streams must dilute the flow;
But where does all the copper go?
Things written outside (and tidied up a bit indoors out of the wind)
Blue tit scavenging in the grass;
why does he bother?
Is the peanut feeder empty?
I better fill it up soon
Snowdrops in a line
Edging the terrace
I put them in the line
last year when I planted them
But only some have flowered
Will the others flower next year?
Will they spread, becoming irregular?
Time will tell
Snowdrops thickly clumped
Under a bush.
I didn’t plant them;
Who did? They were here when I came.
Only some of them have flowered
Perhaps it isn’t a great year for snowdrops.
Time will tell.
Poem by Kerry Darbishire
Poems by Nina Ludgate
She is wild!
Wild and overgrown
nestling for millions
Wrapped in lichen
Small plants nestling
in the crevasses
Exposed to everything
Rain beating down Snow parcels
Heat of the sun
Wild wind whipping
again and again
My hands delved deep
The mud engrained my skin
And my nails
I scrabbled and clawed
At the goodness
I scattered it on my land
It was the goodness to feed my
plants and me
Full of micro organisms
The very food of life
Solid rocks on the bed
Holding still despite the
Of flowing water
Bubbles aerating, taking
To feed the flora and
Below the canopy of the moss
The creatures bustle
Unseen to man
They are the inhabitants
Of a microcosm
Without which our planet would
The bright green trees of moss
The dense rusty moss woodland below
The varied species of tiny moss
Grow around and through each
The fells filter
The ghyll gathers
And gushes a white
Down to the beck
Which carries the water
Down to the lake
Feeding the level
Over the weir
To the river Ehen below
On and on
The water goes
To the sea
Photo by M. Rose, used with
People of Ennerdale
Poem by Sarah Davy
The creative workshops, and the creative work produced as a result, were organised as part of the Tipping Points project, funded by the UKRI via the Landscape Decisions Programme. We are thankful to our funders and partner organisations for supporting this project.