Devon field trip and Project Advisory Board meeting

It has been a busy week for the EngLaId project team. Over the Bank Holiday weekend, Letty and Miranda went to Dartmoor to explore this case study area and do some drawing. They were joined by the poet Alice Oswald (author of Dart) and her husband Peter Oswald, whose local knowledge of the area provided an immensely valuable contribution to the trip. Even the weather decided to hold out, which was wonderful, if unexpected!

Multi-period field systems near Scorriton, as seen from the moor.

Sites visited included Lydford, an Anglo-Saxon burh on the western edge of Dartmoor overlooking the moor. Lydford, now a small village, was a royal burh with spectacular natural defences on three sides, whilst the bank that defended the only easy access to the settlement is still visible as earthworks in the landscape today as well. During the medieval period, the parish of Lydford also included the entire area of Dartmoor’s upper moor.

The earthworks at Lydford with their current occupants.

Miranda spent an afternoon drawing from the earthworks; keep an eye out for the visual blog to see the results of that!

Miranda drawing the landscape from the inside of the defensive bank at Lydford.

The following day, we explored the moor near Scorriton, walking part of the Two Moors Way and the Abbot’s way, which originally would have connected the abbey of Buckfast with those of Tavistock and Buckland on the other side.

The Two Moors Way, as it winds down into the valley where it intersects with the Abbot’s Way and the river Avon.

Miranda found a wonderful spot inside a Bronze Age settlement enclosure from where she spent a few hours drawing the landscape surrounding the Avon valle, whilst Letty followed the Abbot’s Way a bit further, retracing the steps of countless travellers who must have walked here since at least the early medieval period.

The Bronze Age settlement enclosure from where Miranda was drawing, as seen from the opposite hill.
A pregnant horse along the Abbot’s Way.

After this truly wonderful weekend, it was time to go back to reality and prepare for the annual project Advisory Board meeting, where the team presented progress to a committee consisting of Prof. Sir Barry Cunliffe, Prof. Richard Bradley, Prof. Mark Pollard, Prof. Helena Hamerow, Dr Jeremy Taylor and Dr Roger Thomas. After an introduction by Chris Gosden, Laura Morley presented progress on data collection, followed by a joint presentation by Anwen Cooper and Chris Green on the potential and problems of the data from Somerset, one of the first regions for which we had collated a complete dataset (many thanks must go once more to the HERO from Somerset!).

Laura Morley presents progress with data collection.

The Advisory Board provided much helpful feedback, and after a short tea break the presentations continued, first with Letty ten Harkel presenting preliminary work on the Devon case study area, followed by Miranda Creswell who presented her work on recording the team’s working methods, her landscape drawings and other art and, finally, the public engagement side of things in relation to a pilot project she is developing … again, watch the visual blog for more details!

Members of the Advisory Board providing feedback (from left to right: Dr Jeremy Taylor, Prof. Helena Hamerow, Prof. Richard Bradley and Prof. Sir Barry Cunliffe)

The day ended with a very useful and constructive discussion. The EngLaId team would therefore like to thank the Advisory Board for their time and effort, and looks forward to the next meeting in a year’s time!

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