Below is a collection of creative written and visual reflections from workshop participants. With the most recent at the top…

Our company  followed the river’s course
Feet trampling fallen leaves
Boots squelching into the mud
Slipping on timeworn stones
Sometimes lost in the reverie of the ancient forests
it’s primeval giant ferns and moss covered branches
or captured for a moment by the sheer sweetness of a birdsong
But always held in the presence of that great serpentine river being
Drawn by it’s magnetic force of liquid light
into a deep companionship
We are pilgrims together with our wisest and most venerable of guides
Following their deeply grooved path
scored over many millions of years
Down to the Sea.

Helen (Abercych 2021)

Tree roots

Stuck – double jointed mind seesawing,
procrastination easily sliding in
between moments with a touch screen
iron – missing from stillness needed
to extract it, punctured by so many
shards of static, lifeless moments.
Terror – we give up so many safety nets
of self important messages, boxes
created by time, replace it with this
kindling of tree root, 
air dense with powder water, 
I remove damp socks
placing feet in great flowing glass
cold to the touch,
achieve brain freeze, 
from river legs thawing outside
on eternally damp grass. 
How is this possible:
this much, connection?
In a place far from clear radio signal,
more meaningful words
have crossed voids
then planted themselves in our hearts 
and minds,
seeds and joints popping,
from spiderish movement, before
Stopping – eternity, in thirty minutes
mind balking at threat of possibility
numerous, persistent tree roots, 
I am counting down to when it will end.
Ending – we come together,  
gathering shivery bodies
bright ache colouring the minds
that could suspend everything 
with so little practise
and so much help from the trees, 
everything – is possible 
when we need so little
when slow is a salve for 
this splintered mind,
memories of the ground spiralling
up through legs
with such simple magic 
as gravity.
Written – in bones,
returning through breath
feet to head
life streams
carrying new thoughts.
Unbought – the time among
tree roots, grass stains
cow pat, and sheep shit
salvation – perhaps
this is it.

Jonathan (Hebden Bridge 2021)

Kate's poem from her experience at Hebden Bridge 2020 workshop
Kate (Hebden Bridge 2020)
(image description: white paper with black ink text from a typewriter showing Kate’s poem: “there is the great going away – and the great return – there is all the parts of everything – and the nothingness that makes it – there is the talking – and its attempt – there is the eye noticing itself – the unending finger – forgetting itself – melting through wind – there is the great – great absence – and the greater – rememberence – surrounds itself – implodes – regenerates – K.Rad)

Link to “River Walker” by Ally (Dartmoor 2019)

A week on from leaving the wildness – I walk through London, and the depth of forest is still inside my body… the open sands and the fresh sea are stretched through my bones, my fluids have an imprint of their rhythms, I navigate the city streets with its simple timing, I move through the urban landscape with a directness that is not noisy for fear of being judged… I look and see other humans with an expansiveness that is there simply for seeing one another… Something deep inside me trusts my senses again…

Jan (Dundee & Tentsmuir Forest 2019)

A LINK to some co-writing from Spring 2019 from workshop facilitators Katye and Tom:

Fraser's postcard
Fraser (Dartmoor, May 2018)

…For me kinship was/ is also about finding and allowing softness and expansion within oneself and a given place but also as a state of mind, allowing receptivity to unfold and through that being able to receive the other maybe …

Kerstin (Dartmoor, May 2018)

She is an ascetic.
Year slip by through her questing, outstretched arms
She becomes dry as granite
A dharanic narrowing of the senses
To all but a tiny touchpaper alive to warmth
And a gourmand’s nose for the bitter cocktail of sweat.

The black air shifts
Warmth fiercer than the sun on her hard back
There’s someone there
There’s someone there.
From her branch she falls in blind surrender
Trusting her antiquity

She latches to the crackle of hair
And begins a slow descent
Paddling and rowing with Epicurean lust
To the delicious heat of my belly
And starts to tick.

Maisie (Dartmoor, May 2018)

Katye (Dartmoor, May 2018)

collection of handwritten and hand-drawn postcards from the Dundee 2018 workshop
participants (Dundee & Tentsmuir, April 2018)

Deirdre’s visual memory of time spent in the forest

Deirdre's painting of her memory of the forest in reds, yellows and browns.
Deirdre (Dundee & Tentsmuir, April  2018)
(image description: Deirdre’s painting of her memory of the forest in reds, yellows and browns)

When I was in the woods, with the only instruction to wander around and explore for 45 mins, I found myself just there, purely being…I found myself interacting with nature in a very essential way, without any specific function, without having to do or take something from it and it just made sense. I kind of understood what it is to be an animal, other than a human…just there, part of everything else, just being!

a figure walking towards a giant pine forest, with trees over ten times their height
(image description: a figure walking towards a giant pine forest, with trees over ten times their height)

Alícia (Dundee & Tentsmuir, April 2018)
photo: TG

I have a small wilding arising that shelters. I remember our feet as we danced. The sense of us dancing together all listening, attentive, beside. Following cow paths, following a maze of sheep choices. Cow choices and sheep choices are not the same. Changing textures of ground, my weight on springy surfaces damp and dry, meeting them, reading them FEET. The pleasure of moving alone with you all in my peripheries, my far. A strong sense of being with creatures. Lying, standing, resting, grazing, chewing, moving through, marking the land briefly, foraging. Trust is strong. Making small dances.

What returns, what remains. I am elsewhere, there, in the moss. My absence manifests in missed trains, forgotten chores and desire to touch and be touched by cold, cold air, cold water, to tread and know my steps.

Carolyn (Dartmoor, September 2017)

… what remains .. an umbilical cord to the group … of us and the wider grouping of land and all things living in it, the organisation of the days … and it’s softening to meet energetic changes, weather patterns and practice changing, I’m tasting rain and wind and smelling cow and mint and old mossy trees, my body is tired but full of the desire to dance with everyone again … chimp human raven herd lines, I can sense inscriptions more than traces … little grooves in my system and skin that are forming thoughts about my place in all this, I am reaffirmed as a human somehow … but one that begins to understand a more fluid and slow way to meet others of all kinds, I am mindful of my heavy handedness in bringing big tents and big car and a busy schedule that was a less quiet undertow for my own experience … I had to drop it all to climb into the work more fully … tent collapsing was a reminder that impositions rarely offer very much, I’m with gender noticings and the queer nature of this work … it’s atomic way, I’m remembering the generosity of us all and of the places we visited and the other beings we spent time with, I remember too .. rainbows, cold water, hot tea, folk music, plum wine, eating under canvas, eyes closed hill walking running falling

Katye (Dartmoor, September 2017)

… Still full of softness – I came across these words by Sharon Renee Stewart that someone had transcribed from spoken words and that I had to read again.. “Speak to me like the river. Who does not say I am cold, wet or deep whose icy depths pierce my body dragging me along in the fierce death grip of her love (a feline with her pray) whose riverness annihilates any embroidered theories of togetherness whose wetness fills my mouth my eyes my lungs every cell to bursting whose endless force and swell polish me smooth, open, empty and eternally resonant. speak to me like the river.”

Petra (Dartmoor, September 2017)

…. Been seeking words that might describe grazing and it’s grace … cattle and calmness … I found this eventually
This poem is from Raphael Stoneman’s website: A. H. Non-Profit

when the tongue is wet with the taste of existence

and the lungs are full of the breath of being

when the eyes are moist with drops of compassion

and the heart is wide open for humanity

when the ears drum with the excitement of sound

and the brain doesn’t assign any meaning

when the hands are engaged in simple activity and

the body feels like an instrument played

when the mind is still and calm

and the thoughts dance on the surface of absolute silence

when all that is tasted, seen, heard, touched and known is That

this is a state of grace

Katye (Dartmoor, September 2017)