Breaking New Ground

Reconnecting People with The Brecks

Working Progress © IBA

Creatively Interpreting the Brecks

Each year of Breaking New Ground, 4 workshops were held by the Iceni Botanical Artists to teach participants botanical and landscape painting skills. The project enabled people to look and interpret the landscape in a new way and enabling accessibility to a new past time for many, for which courses are sometimes prohibitively expensive to attend.

The workshops were all held at Santon Downham Village Hall, in the heart of Thetford Forest. The subjects, which were repeated each year were Pine Lines, Fungi, Wild Flowers and Insects. At the start of each session, a local expert was engaged to give a lecture style introduction to the topic and how it was special to the Brecks. After this, tutor–led demonstrations took place before participants chose their samples and sat down to commence painting them. Professionals were on hand throughout the day to provide advice and encourage to attendees, many of whom were trying out watercolour painting for the first time.

There was a small charge of £5 per workshop to ensure commitment from attendees and due to the demand, workshops normally sold out within a week or so of going on sale. By Year 3, an on-line booking and payment system was set up and managed by Suffolk County Council to manage the volume of calls.

Four exhibitions were held throughout the project, at Brandon and West Stow Country Parks, Moyses Hall in Bury St Edmunds and finally at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds where work was combined with poetry and expressive art from BNG Grant Funded projects. 242 paintings were created in total by artists from a whole range of different ages.

A selection of images from the project can be found in our Project Gallery

Watch our project evaluation video here:


  • A whole new audience of people armed with botanical painting skills and aware of Brecks biodiversity.
  • Public more aware of Brecks Biodiversity as a result of art exhibitions
  • IBA better equipped and experienced to run courses in the future. IBA retain all materials purchased for the project to continue to run courses

" has given me the confidence to tackle trees and the Breckland landscape...”

Workshop participant


Drawing Demo
Hard at Work
Insects by Jane Milne
Fungi by Christine Picken