New podcasts are launched to celebrate the magical rivers weaving through South Downs landscape.
A series of thought-provoking podcasts are being launched inspired by the beautiful and mysterious rivers of Sussex and Hampshire.
Seven acclaimed writers and poets have teamed up for Full Harvest – a series of audio stories and poems inspired by the South Downs National Park’s landscape and available as free podcasts from 12 July 2021 via all major listening platforms.
It comes after the wordsmiths have spent the past few months exploring the scenic river valleys and engaging with the community on local stories, anecdotes and reflections about the landscape.
The result is an eclectic mix of writing styles featuring short stories, poetry and monologues.
The inspiring initiative has been led by arts charity Applause in partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority.
Full Harvest is much more than just observations on the landscape, it encompasses thought-provoking reflections on how nature and humanity interact. We’ve also worked with a really diverse group of writers and actors to enable some incredibly personal stories and experiences to be heard.”
Sally Lampitt, Deputy Director, Applause
The Full Harvest episodes are as follows:
“Wild Garlic”, River Ouse, Sarah Hehir
Through charming rhyme and rhythm, Wild Garlic charts the close bond of a father and daughter- from the childish glee of springtime swims to the grown woman mourning his death, the river and its flora and fauna provide a comforting constant.
“Cement Bags”, River Adur, Sara Clifford
Ever passed a disused building and wondered about what stories it had to tell? Cement Bags brings to life the hustle and bustle of the Cement Factory at Beeding. Meet the women who worked there on the telephone exchange and listen to their lives in parallel to the building, from its glory days as an industrial hub to its poignant decline.
The Sussex Downs is both a beautiful National Park and a living landscape that supports people and work, and I am interested in discovering how the river has shaped the local community and its stories, from industry and jobs, to the environment and leisure, and how local people view it today. I am particularly interested in people who might feel that the National Park is inaccessible for them, for whatever reasons, and finding ways of connecting groups with their local landscape, history and culture of the National Park.”
Sara Clifford, lead writer and Sussex resident
“Nature’s Storehouse”, River Meon, Lucy Flannery
Exploring the history and mythology of the South Downs as a man uses his love of running to work towards recovery both physically and mentally.
“Celestial Navigation”, River Ouse, Sara Clifford
A poignant tale of family relationships, the intergenerational bond between a young woman and her grandfather is explored against the backdrop of a busy Ferry town. A reminder that we don’t know what we have until it’s gone.
“Meanderings”, River Cuckmere, Rosanna Lowe
An elderly woman reflects on her meandering life as it mirrors the bends and breaks of the River Cuckmere. Life is never quite what it seems on the surface and her winding journey finds diversity in the landscape and its inhabitants, proving that where there is life there is hope.
“The Baptism”, River Rother, Theo Toksvig-Stewart
A dark and unexpected tale about a young girl who meets a mysterious figure by the River. A modern-day myth about being careful what you wish for.
My story was inspired by the duality of the landscape of the National Park, its beauty and its danger. The characters were really personified from that landscape, and toying with what could lie beneath the beauty is something we had a lot of fun exploring in my work with the students at Alton college."
Theo Toksvig-Stewart, writer and Hampshire resident
“My Mother”, River Lover, River Arun, Rosanna Lowe
A man reflects on the ebbs and flows of his complex relationship with his mother. He recalls his mother’s close bond with the water, her struggles with mental health and alcohol dependency, and her joyous moments of freedom in nature. A tale of love and loss on the River Arun.
“A Good Place to Cry”, River Cuckmere, A.G.G
We follow a young man at a crisis point in his life. One traumatic moment forces him to escape the city and find solace and hope in the landscape of the South Downs
“Dear Wellsbourne/ Brighton Rocks”, River Wellesbourne, Merrie Williams
Dear Wellsbourne is a series of seven sevenling poems addressed directly to the stream; interspersed with a short story about local residents, called ‘Brighton Rocks. Mirroring the intermittent pattern of the stream itself, Brighton Rocks explores how two friends deal with the challenges to face their past and live the lives they desire.
“Perspective”, River Itchen, Lucy Flannery
A reminder that many people have walked before us! A clever poem interweaving lives past and present who have interacted with the landscape. From modern-day runners, to the past battalions of Cromwell’s men, to the father and daughter who find connection and peace by the River.
Each story approaches the theme of ‘rivers’ very differently, from the darkness of horror to conversational monologues. The common thread throughout is that natural landscapes can provide hope and new perspectives, and the connection between nature and the journey to recovery. Our mental health and wellbeing is so centred on our sense of place and belonging, I hope people enjoy these stories for their entertainment (whether listening from home on a wet afternoon or walking the downland), and find they open up different ways of experiencing the unpredictable, tranquil, wild and powerful nature of water.”
Anooshka Rawden, Cultural Heritage Lead for the South Downs National Park
Listen, Walk, Enjoy
Audiences can plug in and listen while they walk and explore the landscape, or enjoy at their leisure.
They will be available to download and listen on the SDNPA and Applause websites and popular listening platforms such as Spotify and Apple Podcast, Overcast and Pocket Casts:
Find out more below about each of the seven writers involved in Full Harvest.
Sara Clifford, Sarah Hehir, Theo Toksvig-Stewart, Rosanna Lowe, Lucy Flannery, Merrie Williamns, A.G.G.
About the partnership
Full Harvest is commissioned by Applause in partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority.
Applause is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation based in Kent, a rural touring scheme that supports communities throughout the South East to access professional theatre, music and other performing arts. Applause is committed to commissioning and supporting artists and companies to make, produce and tour exciting new work across our region.
The South Downs National Park is the third largest National Park in England and has the largest National Park population, with 117,000 residents. The National Park has a rich cultural heritage, with four market towns, 5,860 listed buildings and 616 scheduled monuments. From rolling hills to bustling market towns, the South Downs National Park’s landscapes cover 1,600km2 of breath-taking views and hidden gems, including 18 distinctive landscapes and 13 European wildlife sites. The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is responsible for keeping the South Downs a special place and is also the planning authority for the National Park. The Authority is a public body, funded by government, and run by a Board of 27 Members.
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