Preparing for wellbeing, creative, & ecological events at Creativity Acre

On Saturday 13 April 2024, with greatly appreciated blue skies, artists and environmentalists shared a work day preparing a local woodland in a conservation area for creative, ecological and wellbeing events. Volunteers gathered from local art for wellbeing social enterprise Significant Seams and the local ecological group Sustainable Crediton. Together they cleared deadwood and imagined ways to use the acre plot to support local people and projects, whilst also protecting its special qualities.

In the site, at least two natural springs gurgle to the surface, helping create areas of natural raised bog peatland. (This type of bog is globally threatened as an ecosystem, and is a substantial environmental concern as boglands contain more than twice the amount of carbon as stored in all forests. Covering just 3% of the world surface, peatlands hold nearly 30% of the world’s soil carbon. In the UK 80% of peatlands are damaged.) The site has lots of willow, elder and hazel trees, ferns, mosses, and fungi. Currently there are also bluebells and celandine blooming.

The volunteers focused on clearing deadwood from a path along an ancient hedgerow across the top of the gently sloping plot to create clear access. The route leads to an area which lends itself to becoming a gathering place. Those involved with organising the event anticipate hosting small groups for a range of enriching activities, but are keen to minimise disruption to the ecosystem. They are actively consulting with individuals and groups to offer inputs to shape plans and invite interested local people and groups to be in touch!

Project lead Catherine West says, “Nature has a way of nurturing our emotional and physical wellbeing, tapping into our sense of wonder and teasing our natural curiosity – and also making it easier to talk about challenges and needs. We believe this space has a role to play in providing space for people who are going through a vulnerable life moment, and for people to connect with nature in ways that helps them feel better connected to people, planet, and community. What exactly that looks like, we don’t know. It needs to emerge from conversations and activities with people who value or identify with the space. I am personally deeply heartened by the response so far to our invitations for engagement with the space.”

Terry Hadley, acting Chair of Sustainable Crediton, and member of the organisation’s Woodland Management group says, ”It was a good day. With a bit of clarity of purpose, focus, and determination, anything is possible.  Sustainable Crediton has over 100 regular volunteers helping others and the environment. The Sustainable Crediton’s AGM coming up on 8 May at 7:30pm at the Crediton Arts Centre. Our charity application is now pending with the Charity Commission, and we have a lovely group of Trustees now in place. It’s a great time for people to learn more and get involved with any of our great projects: the community larder (5 days a week at Crediton Library), the pollinator group, the tree planting group, the sustain-a-bubble eco hub (1st and 3rd Saturday of each month at the former Town Council Offices), the repair cafe (the fourth Saturday of every month at Elephant on the Green), a new art group, a Climate Action group, and the woodland management group. Sustainable Crediton is also part of a National movement of organisations called Transition Towns, encouraging and assisting people to move away from fossil fuel dependence to greater sustainable lifestyles.”

A baker’s dozen got involved in the first event at ‘Creativity Acre,’ bringing varied knowledge to the process of preparing the space for supportive activities. Additional work party days are now being planned for further deadwood clearance, weeding, and creating of practical (and possibly a few fanciful) structures for the space. Additionally, offers for small group events including bird walks, moth trapping, and various types of art-making are now also progressing. Significant Seams and Sustainable Crediton welcome expressions of interest in volunteering, site visits, and potential use for creative, ecological, or wellbeing activities. For more information or to input, contact