Writers work on audio poems and stories based on the River Ouse and Lindfield

The River Ouse and the town of Lindfield are among the inspirations behind ten audio stories and poems that are being written about the South Downs landscape.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 12:40 pm

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) is collaborating with Applause – a member of the National Rural Touring Forum – on the ‘Full Harvest’ podcast series which will focus on the seven rivers that weave across the park and will be available to listen to this summer.

Anooshka Rawden, cultural heritage lead for the South Downs National Park, said: “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.

A cottage in Lindfield. Picture: Steve Robards, SR1907564
A cottage in Lindfield. Picture: Steve Robards, SR1907564

“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.”

The seven writers who have been commissioned to do that work have been engaging with local communities in the South Downs area to find out more about how people and the landscape interact.

Sarah Hehir has been focusing on the River Ouse and Lindfield and has spent time in the town conducting a poetry writing workshop and follow up sessions with the local U3A.

The workshop encouraged a combination of abstract poetry with first person monologue to reflect on the past and present, living and working by the river.

Through this Sarah learned some Sussex dialect, foraged for food, and even ended up with inspiration for her piece – wild garlic.

Full Harvest aims to encourage people to get outdoors and engage in their local landscape.

This year has increased isolation for many people and this project champions the positive benefits nature can bring to wellbeing and mental health.

It aims to link more people to their local landscape, its history, its rivers, its wildlife, and habitat.

The writers’ finished work will be available in June and audiences can plug in and listen while they walk and explore the landscape, or enjoy at their leisure.

Listeners will be able to access these stories through the SDNPA and Applause websites, as well as popular podcast apps like Overcast and Pocket Casts.

To find out more, visit www.southdowns.gov.uk or www.applause.org.uk