During the month of June, local writer and tutor, Maureen Fenton, teamed up with Festival Bowland to encourage poets, both practised and new, to discover Lancashire's Coronation Meadows, and to use this inspiration to pen poems on a nature-filled theme.
Guided by Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust's Meadow Makers Project Officer, Carol Edmondson, those who could join us enjoyed a lovely walk around Bell Sykes Farm in Slaidburn. Here, we experienced the sights, sounds, scents and textures of these rare and important meadows. We also chatted with farmer, Peter Blackwell, about the traditional methods he uses to manage this suite of meadows, which have been designated as SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest).
The meadows at Bell Sykes were chosen as the county's Coronation Meadows because of their species diversity and public access. Green hay harvested from these meadows has been used to restore over 50 hectares of meadow, both here and in other parts of Bowland.
Two online workshops followed – and here we must thank local poet, Philip Burton, who talked about the writing processes behind some of the poems in his latest collection, Gaia Warnings. In 2019, Philip concurrently held four national and international poetry competition first prizes: the Jack Clemo, the Sandwich (Kent) Poet of the Year, the Barn Owl Trust, and the Horwich (Bolton).
Consrtuctive feedback then helped people refine first drafts, before submitting some fantastic finished poems. Huge thanks go to all involved - and to Maureen for such a lovely idea.
We're delighted to be able to share these poems with you now: a very creative response to this rare and valuable habitat, which we are fortunate to find in Bowland still.
To read each poem please click on the thumbnail images below:
(After you have clicked through you can use the magnifying glass symbol to make the text larger.)