Ridgeway Farm Art Project Newsletter No.8 August 2020

Ridgeway Farm Nature Trail Map – hand delivered to your home!

Phase 2 of the Ridgeway Farm Art Project is now complete and nearly all the residents should have a copy of the hand-illustrated nature map of the development.


If you are unfamiliar with the project, here is a brief catch-up:


The map is drawn by myself and has images included on the front by pupils from Cherry Trees Class at Ridgeway Farm Academy.  The little winter trees in the south east corner, the plan view of a street in the west and the birds eye view drawing of the school in the centre of the map were done on an art day in school where I asked the children to imagine they were a bird flying over the development and could they draw what they see. 


This is a great way to think about the space around where you live or learn, you can remember small details when you take time to think about it and planning these out in a simple way helps to familiarise yourself with your surroundings and how you interact with them.


The little watercolour deer in the south east corner is also by a young resident that had seen it on her walks around the development.


Iain Green of Wildlife Wonder joined me in school to teach the children about photographing wildlife and nature, their photos are on the reverse side of the map with drawings ofhedgehogs and leaves from a school art lesson.


In the centre of the reverse side of the map features an urban myth/legend/story written by Ricky Furze resident of Upper Mill.  I tasked him with creating something about the history of the location and he researched the site and discovered all those bits of intrigue and tied them all up into a story!  Its written around the rings of a log to get you moving the map in your hands and to hi-light the age of the large oak trees on site.



The drawing of the late Neolithic/ Early Bronze age inhumation grave comes from the archaeology dig on site prior to building work starting.  Wessex Archaeology also found pieces of pots (sherds) and a Ponden Hill Type bronze brooch.  click here for Wessex Archeology info  There was a report which was published in the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Magazine in 2017


The map follows a cycle of seasonal colour and I have drawn what I have seen on my visits to site.  The fox running along the railway, the frog, buzzard, swallows, bees, moths, butterflies and the Redwing were seen on the community ‘Walk n Talk’ events over the last year.  The bats are still flying around and there will be a ‘bat walk’ sometime during the course of the project. (dates TBC)


It was originally planned for the maps to be given out at the school summer fair but due to Covid-19 I have hand delivered them instead.  You can still download the print-at-home black and white version of the map through the previous pages on this blog.



One of the overall aims of this project was to bring the community together and from the feedback on Facebook and comments from residents while walking around delivering the maps, this has been an effective and positive way of connecting neighbours.


Luckily there are a group of residents happy to hold spare copies of maps for those people living in flats that I couldn’t access and new comers to Ridgeway Farm can find out about this via the Facebook page



As I walked around the development delivering the maps, I noticed some amazing gardens and planters outside the homes – there are plenty of green-fingered residents out there and I hope to interest more of you in the next phase of the art project – planning the Community Orchard.


I will be back on site for an informal meeting about the orchard on THURSDAY 13TH AUGUST @ 6PM at the orchard site to the east of River View – where the apples and pears are drawn on your map!


We are still looking for volunteers to champion the Community Orchard – there will be planning and planting days, watering duties and a bit of pruning as the trees mature – all in return for a harvest of yummy fruit for you to enjoy.  The orchard will also create a much needed shady area in the future for those hot summer days when you want to be outside with nature but not fry in the heat!


As soon as the fencing is cleared by Taylor Wimpey, the grass will be cut and brambles cut back ready to mark up the orchard.  If we can plant this autumn winter it will give the trees the best chance of survival.


If lock-down and Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is to cherish friends and family and make the most of our open green spaces for our mental well-being and physical health.  Here is your opportunity to do all of these things on your doorstep and help the birds and bees get involved too.


If you want to find out more please get in touch melissa@melissacole.co.uk

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