On Saturday 13th June, I drove through some very heavy showers to West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. At one point the avenue of trees suddenly grew thicker and darker, trunks seemed to double in size and grow more twisted, their leaves much denser blocking out the bright sunlight. In this brooding woodland, it felt as if I had been transported onto the set of Lord of the Rings. I was actually on route to take part in a creative writing workshop, themed on Ancient Communities and Rivers. As Melinda, one of the workshop leaders remarked, such a landscape must have been quite intimidating to even the hardy Anglo-Saxons.
Our small group was undeterred, and after a brief introduction, we ventured out in to the village. Wandering through the empty site, with no agenda other than just to explore and soak up the atmosphere, was such a peaceful experience. I really felt connected with the landscape and a time when life was simpler. The modern world was an unwelcome intruder in the form of a discarded bottle top and bright red fire extinguisher in the corner of one of the wooden huts.
Back in the warmth of the education room, we had worked through some writing exercise with the guidance of Melinda and Lois, creators of the Sandlines project. At lunchtime I had to nip across to Brandon Country Park to check in on another Breaking New Ground event - Art in the Park (click here to reads news feature). I returned to West Stow just as the workshop was drawing to a close. Feedback was very positive – one attendee, who is currently studying for a degree in creative writing, said that of all the workshops he’d been on recently (and there had been a few), this was the best.
The final workshop in the Sandlines project is now fully booked, however, you can still benefit from the work being done. If you’d like help starting or developing your creative writing skills, take a look at the Sandlines blogs which contain hints and tips.
Holly Isted Business Support Officer BNG