The Deepenings Trail!
TRAIL LAUNCHING! Noon MONDAY 1st MAY 2023!
(Ritual opening processions 12 noon and 2pm the same day!)
This walking trail is designed to take you around a re-enchanted version of the landscape, exploring history, mythology and climate emergency.
It is an enhanced reality trail with virtual monuments, soundscape, new music and song and storytelling. We hope you enjoy your journey as you follow us... down to The Deepenings!
Between May 1st and Midsummer YOU can add to the content that is available to discover online by responding to special tasks and provocations at each stop and then sending them to us via the email at the bottom on the page!
1. The park rangers are really good at making sure the paths are clear and well cared for! Try your best to keep to them.
2. Don’t be a Litterbug on your way round! IAnd why not do a small litter pick if you see any plastic or rubbish on the beach!
3. The cliffs here are crumbly, sandy and home to birds. Climbing them isn’t a good idea.
4. If you want to swim the beaches over at West Mersea are much safer. A paddle here at high tide can be lovely but do watch out for the mud!
5. Keep an eye on the tide when you are down on the beach…and look out for adders in the grassier areas of the park! It’s not all bad though, you could also spot sand martens, egrets, red squirrels and lots of other wildlife if you keep your eyes peeled!
6. Don’t forget to share your creative responses with us so we can add them to the trail and inspire other people!
Here is the site of the original grove of trees that lends the country park it's name. Now it is much diminished in size after steadily being swallowed by the sea... Once, not so very long ago in the grand scheme of things, a dogs grave was exposed by a cliff fall. The owner of the beloved hound had left a message in a bottle with the bones of their faithful friend....
Climb the wooden steps carefully to gaze from high, or look across through the clearing atop the cliffs here... When the tide is far out you can see the mud stretching, shining all the way out to the entrance to Doggerland. On your left the memories of hippos and mammoths that once roamed here have been built into the play park. One day soon the sea will have eaten the cliffs all the way back to here. If we try to imagine the future what do we see from here?
Here we have a time capsule sealed under a rock. Close by there is a swathe of hogs fennel...The root of each whole plant supports the growth of only one Fishers Estuarine Moth Caterpillar. They are highly endangered and right here on the island we have one of the strongest populations in the UK. What things do we enjoy here that deserve to be treasured, coveted, treated as precious...
Some of the paths in this area of the park have been reclaimed by badgers. You might also spot red squirrels here if you are lucky! The path is lined by only a few trees really, but it feels like walking through a forest. It is filled with the smell of leaf litter and the sound of the birds rather than the scent and the singing of the sea...unless there is a particularly roaring tide.
Here before you is a path that leads over to the Marshy extremities at the eastern edge of the island. At high tide the sea is held in place by the path, away from the much lower grazing fields contained within the walkway...for now anyway.
But who is he waiting for...
The mythology connected to the ferryman is entwined with ideas relating to change, and ultimately to grief.
Where do we go from here? This is the place where the park runs out, in terms both real and imaginary. Here and now and not too far into the future. What comes next?
Here we have made it down to the water, to the sea. The sea and the rain have conspired to create a liminal space here that can feel limitless.
It is a good place to play and this is where you probably will spend a little time. Take your moment, feel time slow down, and perhaps even dip your toes in the water.
This pill box is a striking feature on the landscape of the park. It is still pretty complete and you can go inside. Be careful though, the entrance is low and it can be dark inside.
Bethan's son described it as a temple when we bought him to visit early on in the project...he didn't comprehend it was part of the architecture of war. Rather, he felt the weight of the concrete and the thrill of the hidden space inside sat against all the openness of the park. It promises sanctuary, protection, echoes and noise.
Did you know that this island is practically a desert? When we first started visiting we had no idea. We enjoyed the open expanse of the park without counting the different types of grass or paying much mind to the pretty but brutish swathes of alexanders. This is a good spot to contemplate what things we can do to help protect and diversify our local environments. And to understand that helping things thrive and grow might sometimes that mean letting go of something...
Here near the end of the trail we find a song for a tractor, The rangers and we perhaps even meet the old watchers.
What might we build for places like this? Why did we stop gathering to make monuments? Why do we think it's a good idea to start again now?