ON Saturday, April 13, with greatly appreciated blue skies, artists, University of Exeter academics, and environmentalists shared a work day preparing a local woodland in a conservation area for creative, ecological and well-being events.

Volunteers gathered with local art for well-being social enterprise Significant Seams and the local ecological group Sustainable Crediton to clear deadwood and imagine ways to use the acre plot to support local people and projects, whilst also protecting its special qualities.

Having a look at what has been burrowing under a tree.
Having a look at what has been burrowing under a tree. (Significant Seams)

The site has at least two natural springs that gurgle to the surface, helping create areas of natural raised bog peatland.

The site has lots of willow, elder and hazel trees, ferns, mosses, and fungi.

Currently there are also bluebells and celandine blooming.

The volunteers focused on clearing deadwood from a path along an ancient hedgerow across the top of the gently sloping plot to create clear access.

A volunteer working along a hedgerow. The route leads to an area which lends itself to becoming a gathering place. Those involved with organising the event anticipate hosting small groups for a range of enriching activities, but are keen to minimise disruption to the ecosystem. 

A volunteer working along a hedgerow.
A volunteer working along a hedgerow. (Significant Seams)

They are actively consulting with individuals and groups to offer inputs to shape plans and invite interested local people and groups to be in touch!

Project lead Catherine West says: “Nature has a way of nurturing our emotional and physical well-being, tapping into our sense of wonder and teasing our natural curiosity - and also making it easier to talk about challenges and needs.

“We believe this space has a role to play in providing space for people who are going through a vulnerable life moment, and for people to connect with nature in ways that helps them feel better connected to people, planet, and community.

The volunteers during their lunch break.
The volunteers during their lunch break. (Significant Seams)

“What exactly that looks like, we don’t know. It needs to emerge from conversations and activities with people who value or identify with the space.

“I am personally deeply heartened by the response so far to our invitations for engagement with the space.”

Acting Chair of Sustainable Crediton, and member of the organisation’s Woodland Management group, Terry Hadley, said: “It was a good day. With a bit of clarity of purpose, focus, and determination, anything is possible.

“Sustainable Crediton has more than 100 regular volunteers helping others and the environment.“The Sustainable Crediton’s AGM is coming up on May 8 at 7.30pm at the Crediton Arts Centre.

“It’s a great time for people to get involved with any of our great projects: the community larder, the pollinator group, the tree planting group, the sustain-a-bubble eco hub, the repair cafe, a new art group, a Climate Action group, and the woodland management group.”

A baker's dozen got involved in the first event at “Creativity Acre”, bringing varied knowledge to the process of preparing the space for supportive activities.

Additional work party days are now being planned.

Significant Seams and Sustainable Crediton welcome expressions of interest in volunteering, site visits, and potential use for creative, ecological, or well-being activities.

For more information, contact: [email protected] .