Celebrating National Parks

Way back at the end of July, we took place in an Art in Nature event to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Campaign for National Parks. I wrote this post back then, but never published it, so here’s a little throwback to Summer 2016- enjoy! 

This weekend marked the 80th birthday of the Campaign for National Parks. For 80 years they’ve campaigned to strengthen the powers of National Parks, monitored National Parks against damaging developments and promoted National Parks for the enjoyment of everyone. They also campaign for sustainable transport within and to National Parks and for housing within these areas that meet local needs.

There are 15 National Parks across England, Scotland and Wales. The very newest park is the South Downs, which was only confirmed as a National Park in 2010.

To celebrate the 80th birthday of the National Parks, 38 degrees put on a walks and workshops on Saturday 30th June in every one of the National Parks. We joined an Art in Nature Workshop at one of the England’s newest National Park’s, the New Forest, the first National Park to be designated in the 21st century, back in 2005.

Art in Nature workshops ran across the country, curated by land artist Richard Shilling and hosted by local artists in each area.

We met up with the local artists and other workshop attendees at Park Pale, near to Lyndhurst in the New Forest. The artists had already laid out the basis for our designs, mandalas laid out with dried, burnt gorse. Beautiful and twisted, it looked a lot like driftwood. This fitted with the area where we were working, which had large sandy expanses, a mini beach marooned in the forest.

We were introduced to what we were doing and set off around the site to collect natural materials to make our artwork. To start with it looked a little barren, a sandy heathland area, but once we started looking it was surprising how many different colours and textures we found. From the several different colours of sand, to small yellow flowers, bracken, fallen leaves, twigs, sticks and stones and so on.

We filled the sections of the mandala with different materials, working section by section, each one different, from ferns sprouting flowers to patterns made with different colours of sand using piping bags, and all sorts of leaves and other materials. On another mandala other people worked, with several children joining in, making mini henges and patterns with sticks.

Around us donkeys and ponies roamed and visitors came over to see what we were doing.

We loved the art workshop, it was a great opportunity to do something different and celebrate our wonderful National Parks. It was a really enjoyable, relaxing morning, letting our creativity flow.

Have you ever made art in nature? 

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