The third and final walk took place at Cotehele on 10th December on the chosen theme of ‘Hidden Wildlife’.
As before, children from Calstock and Stoke Climsland Primary Schools were joined by members of Sensory Trust’s dementia-friendly Walk and Laugh Group. The artist, Ellie Robinson-Carter invited everyone to document the walk with a shared single-use camera to create the images for the third Photobook in the ‘Wild About Calstock’ series. The participants thoroughly enjoyed the nature-based activities arranged by Bryony James from the Tamara Landscape Partnership.
The first activity was a woodlands walk looking for signs of wildlife using tracking and identification charts to help focus on the theme. An excellent Q&A session led by Bryony brought attention to the types of mammals and birds one could expect to find in woodlands and wetlands in the Tamar Valley. Having explored the woodlands, the attention then turned to the recently established intertidal habitat at Cotehele. There was much debate about whether the unfamiliar birds we could see on the mud flats were ducks or waders!
Rob Price from the Environment Agency then engaged the participants in an informative discussion about climate change and the national significance of the River Tamar as one of Britain’s great rivers. He explained the role of the Environment Agency in making places better for people and wildlife and that creating new intertidal areas along the river was important, as these allow the river to flood, provide vital habitat for wildlife and take carbon out of the air. It was good to find out about the positive action being taken to mitigate the impact of climate change in the Parish.
We then moved on to the Quay and talked about the Tamar having both fresh and salt water due to the tides. Rob then took a water sample from the river and there was great anticipation to see what creatures were in the pot! These included a leech, a worm and a snail – creatures that can survive in water that is of average river health. It was an inspiring afternoon of both knowledge exchange and fun. The children enjoyed
the company of the older participants and they, in turn, take real pleasure in having the children in the group.
These quotes from the children capture the mood of the intergenerational group walks:
It was really, really fun, because I got to go outside and have fun with my friends. The older people were very nice, they told me about where we were, and we took a picture together.
I learnt about how the gap in the bank is there to help stop floods, and also about the wetlands in Cornwall.
I took pictures of the ducks, pretty flowers and the sour leaves. I liked using the camera.
We look forward to seeing the results of the photographs that have been taken on all 3 walks when they are reproduced in the new series of Photobooks.
The project continues with a visit to The Box in Plymouth to see the Tamar natural history collection on 6th March and culminates in an exhibition and book launch at Calstock Arts on 20th March. The exhibition will be open to the public from 21st-28th March daily from 10am-4pm. Everyone is welcome to visit.