Thursday, 15 June 2017

Volunteers sought to locate, investigate and record

Dear All, 
I am writing to let you know about our public art project. This project aims to locate, record and photograph public art, namely artwork made by an artist, arts practitioner or craftsperson and located in publicly accessible spaces and places in Wiltshire. Data collected as part of the project will be made available in the Local Studies Library at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre with images deposited in the Historic Photograph and Print Collection. The images will then be pinned to the Know Your Place site to map their location geographically. More details can be found at this link: and on the attached flyer.

Creative Wiltshire are running a series of workshops across the county for those interested in getting involved in the project; to help prepare, organise and collate material. Volunteers are encouraged to register their interest to help support public art in the places that matter to them.

I’ve attached details of the first workshop to be held in Calne Library on Tuesday 11 July 2017 at 6pm to 7pm. This is followed by a workshop at Marlborough Library on Thursday 20 July 2017, 6-7pm. Other dates are in the process of being arranged in other locations across the county. Please email to find out more details on these events.

We’d very much appreciate it if you could forward this to your networks, club members or to anyone you think might be interested in helping us with this project. Please also feel free to include this information in any newsletters or distributions/circulations you might have.

Many thanks

Best Wishes

Meril Morgan
Arts Lead
Wiltshire Council Arts Service
Department of Communications and Communities
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre
Cocklebury Road
SN15 3QN

Tel: 01249 705531
Mobile: 07793 802665

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For our weekly e-bulletins join our: Arts Service Database

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Steam Car Rally at the Museum 20th June

There will be an unusual event at the museum on Tuesday 20 June, when a group of steam cars will be visiting. 
The Steam Car Club of Great Britain will be stopping off at the museum for a few hours, so this will be an amazing opportunity to see thirteen of these stunning vintage and veteran cars at close quarters.  
The cars will be arriving at 11.30am and leaving around 4pm, and parked on the forecourt of the museum for all to enjoy.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Ancient Landscapes Through the Lens: A guided photographic walk to Fyfield Down

Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 11.00 to 13.00

Join David Walker and Peter Norton, as they lead a walk through this ancient landscape, and along the way, providing some invaluable advice on how best to photograph it.
For full details of the walk and where to meet, please follow this link:

Meet at the car park off the A4, 1.5 miles from Marlborough on the Manton Estate.

Contact on the day David Walker 07840 326302

Kit List Please bring stout shoes, clothing suitable for all weathers, photographic equipment, and any drinks and snacks you may require. This walk is not suitable for those with walking difficulties.

Duration  An 4 mile circular walk taking in far ranging views, rock formations and a reconstructed Dolmen.

Details  After a 1.5 mile walk an extraordinary shallow valley opens up, littered with massive grey stones – 1,000’s of them. This is Fyfield Down and the stones are what are left of a massive sheet of rock that broke up during the last Ice Age. From a distance, the sarsens have often been mistaken for flocks of sheep, hence their name Grey Wethers (Old English term for sheep). This stone was used to build famous monuments like Avebury Stone circle and Stonehenge

Once the entire area used to be covered with sarsen stones and you apparently you could walk for 2 miles stepping from stone to stone, but now there are very few left. The last order of sarsen stones from this area was in 1938 and four cart loads where taken to repair Windsor Castle.
This is one of the country’s oldest National Nature Reserves, created in 1955. The site is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) because of the landforms it contains and the wildlife it supports. The whole site is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and its historical importance was recognized when it was made part of Avebury World Heritage Site.
The structure was rescued from imminent collapse in 1921 by archaeologists. Restoration work was undertaken to shore up the dolmen by incorporating a concrete support to one side which was engraved with the year of its salvation - 1921.

After 3 miles the Devil’s Den dolmen stands alone in a field at Clatford Bottom. The word 'dolmen', is thought to be a derivative of ‘dillion’, meaning boundary mound.

The Devil's Den is a Neolithic burial chamber first recorded in 1723 by the antiquarian – William Stukeley, who's illustrations show a long barrow of considerable length with several large sarsen stones which have all but disappeared now. Today the structure comprises of just three massive sarsens arranged similar to that of a
Welsh ‘Cromlech’.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

PAGB NEWS No184 and No184 Extra

Click HERE to read main news and HERE to read extra news of a saucy kind.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Ancient Landscapes Through the Lens - 23rd May

Ancient Landscapes Through the Lens
A guided photographic walk to Breamore
with David Walker and Peter Norton
Tuesday 23 May 10am

Meet at St Mary’s Church, Breamore. (Car parking near to the countryside museum)

Contact on the day David Walker 07840 326302

Kit List Please bring stout shoes, clothing suitable for all weathers, photographic equipment, and any drinks and snacks you may require. This walk is not suitable for those with walking difficulties.

Background   Breamore Church is 9 miles from Salisbury. The walk will pass through the grounds of Breamore House, up to the Mizmaze and then on to the Giants Grave returning by the same route covering approximately 3.4 miles.

Details  The large Saxon church of St Mary’s is thought to date from 980, and could have been a minster on a royal estate although no ruins for such a place have ever been found. An Augustinian Priory was built about a mile away in 1130, and excavations of the priory site in the late 19th century revealed some stone coffins of which three were removed and placed close to the old yew tree to preserve them from damage.

A large ancient female yew grows close to the southwest porch and for reasons unknown the yew is thought to have been cut down in the early 1800’s. In 1896 JC Lowe reported that “For by 1888 there were “8 or 10 young trunks a foot or more in diameter growing within the old trunk”.

From the churchyard, we will follow the footpath through the grounds of Breamore House, head up to Breamore Down and around one mile (from the church) and reach the turf Mizmaze which is enclosed by a yew grove.

A Christian cross cuts through the Cretan design of the mediaeval turf Mizmaze. This is not the sort of maze with dead ends, but a labyrinth where all paths eventually lead to the little mound in the centre. Paths of turf, made by cutting down to the bare chalk between them, curve in a symmetrical pattern.

The Mizmaze is thought to have been originally used on holy days in Pagan times, according to tradition, monks used the maze for their penances, painfully traversing it on their knees. With prayers said at fixed points along the path.

Just to the west of the Mizmaze (300m) is an ancient Neolithic long barrow recorded as Giants Grave, thought to date from around 3,700 BCE and orientated NE-SW with the NE end facing uphill.

Long barrows represent the burial places of Britain's early farming communities and, as such, are amongst the oldest field monuments surviving visibly in the present landscape. Where investigated, long barrows appear to have been used for communal burial, often with only parts of the human remains having been selected for interment.

This whole area of downland is thought to be associated with a great battle in 519 when Cerdic and his son Cynric defeated the Britons at Cerdics ford now known as Charford. Cerdic went on to be the first King of Saxon Wessex reigning between 519 - 534.