Walk & Talk with Jacqueline Moore
The Walk & Talk series began as a physical, free event series at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, inspired by the exhibitions ‘Don McCullin. The Stillness of Life’ and ‘Not Vital. SCARCH’ and now continues online.
Join us for this instalment of Walk & Talk with Jacqueline Moore, Director of Make Hauser & Wirth Somerset. A positive outcome of our collective slowing down is to take time to look closely at, and connect with, one’s own environment. For Jacqueline, her daily walk is about recognising the small details in nature from which creativity and inspiration can flow.
As we navigate our days one at a time, we’re learning that it’s more important than ever to connect with each other, and nature, in new ways. According to research at Stanford University, walking leads to creative thinking and as we continue to take our daily exercise, we invite you to be inspired by these intimate journeys across Bruton and find solace in the outdoors wherever you may be. These personal walking stories shine a light on local businesses, suppliers, friends and colleagues, who have shared field notes from their favourite routes and resting spots within the Somerset landscape.
My Somerset Walk
‘My walk begins by stepping out of the garden door, in the intimacy of the garden. Spring brings daily change, but here, high on a Mendip hillside, the season starts later, and more slowly.
I like to walk along an old, unmade track that disappears into a wood. The tangle of bramble, vine and leafy hedgerow forms the backdrop to spring flowers – wild primrose, bluebell, red campion, stitchwort, sweet woodruff, wood anemone and a profusion of wild garlic. Nothing here has been planted by human hand, but rather has found its own place and logic.
At the brow of the hill, in dappled shade, I have counted eighteen common spotted-orchids almost hidden from view.
This short walk reveals a rich source of natural materials for makers. For example, my husband Mark Reddy, will forage for a fallen bough to carve a spoon from. Visiting artists have found madder root here for textile dyes, and used burnt apple wood prunings from my garden to glaze their vessels.
It has become a daily routine for me to sit for a while on a grassy mound that overlooks Batcombe Vale, captured so evocatively by photographer Don McCullin, and from there watch the sun go down. My soundtrack is the cacophony of urgent Springtime birdsong and the distant bleat of sheep.
Cuckooflowers in the meadow
Wild garlic underneath the oak trees
The returning, looping walk drops down along Withywood Lane, beneath a canopy of unfurling oak and meadows strewn with cuckoo flowers. Closer to home, I pass through our own woodland that includes field maple, silver birch, chestnut, alder, beech and liquid amber, together with cherry, plum, damson, pear and apple trees.
Luckily, I have no need to venture far to find beauty and solace in nature, to cherish the discovery of small worlds everywhere.’
Whether on a walk or in the garden, there are many natural treasures to discover. Below Jacqueline shares a few creative activities to enjoy whatever your age.
Make a Nature Table
On your walk, keep an eye out for found objects that you are able to collect and take home with you. These might be feathers, pebbles and twigs, or wild flowers you come across. When you get home make a ‘Nature Table’ by arranging your flowers and other found objects into a simple tableau, or use them to create an imaginary world.
Can you identify the wildflowers you have found? Use the helpful links below!
Listen closely to the birdsong
Did you see or hear any birds on your walk? Write down how big it was, where you saw it, and make a note of the colour of its feathers and legs. Identify the birdsong using the links below.
Create a nature table using found objects
Can you identify the wildflowers you have found?
Additional resources related to nature and the identification of wildflowers and birdsong:
The British Library: The Top 10 British Bird Songs
RSPB: Identify a British Bird
Gardener’s World: British Wildflower Identifier
BBC Radio 4: ‘Tweet of the Day’
BBC Radio 4: Short Cuts series, ‘Into The Woods’
Book: ‘Fewer Better Things. The Hidden Wisdom of Objects’ by Glenn Adamson. Bloomsbury Publishing
Book: ‘Craft. How Traditional Crafts Are About More Than Just Making’ by Alexander Langlands. Faber & Faber Ltd.
Don’t forget to follow the government guidelines and enjoy the outdoors safely. Follow Hauser & Wirth Somerset on Instagram to see our weekly Walk & Talk feature. Discover the history, folklore and hidden gems of Bruton town and Durslade Farm, learn how artists capture the changing seasons, and reflect on the ethos of the countryside with independent retailers and residents.