FLOW Wassail 2024

Our 2024 Wassail took place on Saturday 20th January at Exwick Mill Field.  It was a chilly evening but the warm glow of the night made it all incredibly worthwhile.  Many thanks to everyone who attended and to those who made the event possible.

Here are a few images of the Wassail…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All photographs taken by FLOW Wassail Exeter Photographer Jenny Steer

We are also able to share a beautiful reflection of the event by the wonderful Judith Morgane, who played the part of Sentinel…

The Heart of The Orchard

At the heart of the orchard is a stillness that is full of possibilities.
You feel it when you are there among the trees, the tall grasses,
The rush of the river… the city dimming and growing distant.

The stillness is almost tangible,
A quality of calm, quiet promise,
That I, Sentinel of the Orchard, embody;
Carrying the firebrand, a constant new beginning,
Into this liminal space that is for all
To visit, even linger, but not to stay.

Silent Sentinel speaks in many ways but not with words –
I hear you all around me, I listen to your many voices.
The children’s hushed amazement, the whispered questions
“Are they real?”, those silent guardians of the orchard.
“Do we follow them?” into the trees, into that
Pregnant stillness? And they follow, wide-eyed.
The sweet tune of the whistle guides us and I see
People moved to speak, to reach out and connect –
Respond to the fire in the darkness,
Grasping after that moment of other-worldly wonder.

Around the fire, I hear you:
“She is the goddess… a vessel to carry the spirit of the orchard…
guardian of the trees… blessing the soil… bringing fire into darkness…
see the Wind who fans her flames… she is between the worlds…
she doesn’t really see us… I think she is smiling.”

I am. It is good to be many things to many people,
Good to spark their stories of the orchard.
I give my own, silent thanks – Wassail!

UPRIVER – walking the route, 29 April 2018

 

Thanks to Jenny Steer (www.jennysteer.co.uk) for photos of the day and to Cain Hegarty for the close ups

WHAT HAPPENED

It was chilly for the end of April, twenty or so of us wrapped up in hats and some scarves and gloves set off from the Double Locks to visit the FLOW planting sites all the way up to Exwick. Mary-Rose Lane introduced the context of the Environment Agency and we walked upriver, referencing maps for the new trees and noticing blossom on existing fruit trees and hedgerows. Unfortunately Nigel was unable to join us for the walk this time, but we hope that he come on the walk another time and share his extensive knowledge of the habitat.

There was an endless easy stream of shifting conversations and discussions as we walked along and lots of questions and observations as we stopped to look at the trees and Anne-Marie explained which variety they were and why they had been planted in each location.

The Trews Weir orchard looked great, many trees in blossom including Almond which had already shot up. There was lots of nettles and ground cover that will need keeping at bay to let the trees get away without too much competition. We stopped for a chilly picnic at the canal crossing just before the Quay then carried on up to Exwick where we ended at the Exwick Sunflower and Blossom Day in the Parish Hall. It was mobbed! The Orchard Box and FLOW map were on display for people to see. We managed to squeeze in for a welcome cuppa and cream tea and then those of us who stayed till the end were rewarded with a song writing session with Hugh Nankevil where we collectively composed our very own blossom song. Well done Exwick on such a fantastic and popular event!

Most of the trees are doing well. One (a cherry) has been damaged and removed so needs replacing and a few may need replanting as they have been planted too close together. The Flood Defence Scheme landscaping is running a bit behind but I’m hoping that the remaining trees will be planted in Winter 2018. Quite a few of the walkers were keen to get involved with caring for the trees ‘FLOW rangers’ and helping in other ways  so our next event will be an evening gathering late in June to discuss how best to go forward as a group. All are welcome. Date and location coming soon.

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THE INVITATION:

Come and seek out the newly planted FLOW orchard trees and explore the Valley Park together from Double Locks Pub (meet outside front entrance) to Exwick Mill Field sharing observations, stories and inspiration along the way.

Setting off from Double Locks at 11.30am.

Arrival at Exwick approximately 3.00pm

We will stop to eat packed lunch together on the way.

The walk will include contributions from: 

Nigel Pinhorn, local ecologist

Mary-Rose Lane, environment agency ecologist 

& FLOW artist Anne-Marie Culhane 

This is an opportunity to come and find out more about FLOW, a new orchard of over 190 varied fruit and nut and foraging trees along the river exe, to discover some other non-human inhabitants and residents of this wonderful green space and to start to think about how we care for FLOW as it passes in the hands of the local community.  At Exwick we will arrive for a cream tea, music and song as part of the Exwick Blossom Day celebrations organized by the Exwick Community.

Exwick Blossom Day + Launch of Sunflower Competition, Sunday 29 April:   collect free seeds at Station Road Playground from 2pm. From 3pm, music, craft, seeds to swap and Cream Tea at Exwick Parish Hall, Station Road, Exwick. (please note no car access in Station Road at this time due to Flood Prevention Works) Contact Emma Welton emma.welton@phonecoop.coop for more details

Flow orchard exe on Facebook & @floworchardexe on Twitter

Please let us know you are coming via:  floworchardexe@gmail.com

Out + About in Exwick & St Thomas

We have been sharing conversations with lots of people including visitors to the St Thomas Festival, Exwick Harvest Lunch & Trews Weir Allotments social gathering. This has involved taking the map, the orchard box, apple pressing and the Orchard Pollinator game out and about. Lots of people have asked how they can get involved in finding out more & planting with their families. People have also fed in ideas and local knowledge about the site and what should be planting including some snippets of local history esp. in Exwick where people are keen to see orchard planting re-introduced to Exwick Mill Field in line with a long history of orchards in the area. Here are some pictures of events. Thanks to all the people who helped out with running the stall. There were no images from Exwick Harvest Lunch but a comment from local organiser Emma Welton: Flow added a wonderful element to our very local community event. It was brilliant to see your beautiful map, see people talking with you and getting excited.

Running with Trees 13 September

Join me for a run through the park to see what we can learn about trees, each other, our breathing and the climate. Riverside Valley Park on Wednesday 13 September at 6.00pm, meeting in front of The Malt House, Harvester pub EX2 8BP. The run is especially suitable for people with some experience of running/improvers. The run is 3.5km along the Exe Riverside Valley Park and includes three short stops. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear.

We breath between 20-50,000 times every day. Over a 4km stretch of ground Running with Trees explores the intimate relationship between breath, trees, carbon dioxide & climate change starting with our own breath.

The first run in June took place in a torrential downpour and despite this 9 people turned up and stayed the course. I dont think I have ever been so drenched!   This time the rain only spotted and we found ourselves running in bright late sunshine and under the arc of a rainbow.  Here are some images from the run.

With thanks to Matt Rowett run leader.

Documentary photographer photojournalist, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall, Somerset, Exeter, UK, abroad

Documentary photographer photojournalist, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall, Somerset, Exeter, UK, abroad

Documentary photographer photojournalist, Devon, Dorset, Cornwall, Somerset, Exeter, UK, abroad

 

Running with Trees 28 June

Join me for a run through the park to see what we can learn about trees, each other, our breathing and the climate.

Riverside Valley Park on Wednesday 28th June at 6.30pm, meeting in front of The Malt House, Harvester pub EX2 8BP.

The run is especially suitable for beginners/improvers. The run is 3.5km along the Exe Riverside Valley Park and includes three short stops. Please wear suitable clothing and footwear. The event is free but numbers are limited so please let me know if you are coming: mail@amculhane.co.uk

Running with Trees is part of a bigger project to create a community orchard and foraging route along the River Exe. There will be a number of activities in and around St Thomas & Exwick leading to a community planting event in January 2018.

I look forward to running with you.

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