Way to wan­der

Berkshire Life - - County News -

Now that’s some crowd set­ting off on a balmy Satur­day evening from Na­tional Trust prop­erty Basil­don Park – but it doesn’t tell the whole story be­cause some 700 peo­ple chose to con­nect with and jour­ney through the land­scape of the North Wes­sex Downs.

They were at­tend­ing Way­far­ing, a free out­door art in­stal­la­tion and per­for­mance, cre­ated by artists Mandy Dike and Ben Rigby, who work to­gether as And Now:. The char­ac­ters of Way­far­ing took the vis­i­tors on a dusk jour­ney through the woods and into the land­scape of Basil­don Park, where they dis­cov­ered the Way­far­ing in­stal­la­tion, which was bought to life with the­atre and mu­sic.

Ear­lier in the week, 400 chil­dren from Berk­shire, Ox­ford­shire and Hamp­shire had learned about the chalk land­scape and its habi­tat, and con­trib­uted to the Way­far­ing art in­stal­la­tion, via a schools en­gage­ment pro­gram run in part­ner­ship by the Corn Ex­change, New­bury and The North Wes­sex Downs. And a group from Ox­ford­shire Mind, a char­ity sup­port­ing peo­ple with men­tal health chal­lenges, also ex­pe­ri­enced Way­far­ing as well as the his­toric land­scape, and habi­tats within the Basil­don Park Es­tate.

Not sur­pris­ingly, those who help care for this beau­ti­ful part of our coun­try were de­lighted by the re­sponse. Henry Oliver, Di­rec­tor of the North Wes­sex Downs, says: “Way­far­ing has been a mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence for all who vis­ited the event. By look­ing through the lens of art, it has en­abled at least 1,000 peo­ple to ex­pe­ri­ence and con­nect to this fas­ci­nat­ing chalk land­scape, which hope­fully will in­spire more to come and en­joy the coun­try­side”.

Way­far­ing is in­spired by an­cient chalk land­scapes and the Ick­nield Way, which is claimed as the old­est road Bri­tain.

The project was pro­duced by Ac­ti­vate in part­ner­ship with the North Wes­sex Downs AONB, the Corn Ex­change New­bury, 101 Out­door Arts Cre­ation Space and the Na­tional Trust, with sup­port from the Arts Coun­cil.

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