The Marking Time Project – A Wellbeing Woodland Walk
On this heady, heat-filled mid-June morning it’s hard to cast my mind back to the terrible weather we endured last November. Ice-rain lashed, gales roared and daily weather warnings suddenly became the norm.
On just such a wet, wind-tossed day I first visited Bronllys Hospital and discovered the Marking Time Project. I’d been invited by fellow poet Mark Christmas (‘The Abandoned Soldier Project’ and ‘The TAS Project). Although I had very little time available, (shuttling between Hay-on-Wye and Somerset mid-way through other projects), I was still keen to do something.
Back in 2015 an “At Ease” Garden had been created near the Psychology Department at Bronllys Hospital providing a new outdoor therapy space for veterans and other patients. Leading on from this inspired use of vacant space within the hospital grounds, by 2016 a phase 2 had naturally been envisaged; spilling over into a small but ably mature piece of woodland. Thus, with continued financial support from the Ministry of Defence Community Covenant Fund a ‘Wellbeing Woodland Walk’ was planned, leading to a wooden seat and organic sculpture at its heart. A calming, contemplative and peaceful space set among the sanctuary of Nature.
There seemed very little calmness on that stormy day back in November. Mark introduced me to Sculptor and Ceramic Artist, Rebecca Buck, Community Projects Manager at The Green Valleys CIC, Gareth Ellis, Poet, Mick Farrell and Project Supporter, Janet Epplestone. They were all hard at work, ankle-deep in mud, digging and trying to lay concrete under the groaning of wind-torn trees.
Even then I could see their commitment to this project was unstinting!
I only managed to visit the site a further six times over the next four months taking photographs, notes and sound recordings. Each time the hard physical work of careful landscaping and construction had been evident. By mid-February my poem, “A Path Among Trees” joined Mark Christmas’s “Catching A Moment” and Mick Farrell’s poem on site. Rebecca’s incredible sculptural work, aided by the pupils of Mount Street Juniors School in Brecon and Llandrindod High School was close to completion too, tirelessly consolidated in its new home by Gareth.
Now summer flames bringing fine weather and greenery to the wood. The sculpture installed and rooted, a wooden seat placed, paths dug, poems engraved and an opening ceremony planned for 22nd June.
Majestic trees, soothing bird song, woodland flowers, insects and the soft, slow tramp of footfall will now inhabit this incredible space. A place where crowded minds can take full ease under the dappling shade.
To find out more about this wonderful project please follow the link to Rebecca Buck’s Studio Diary –
Follow the ‘Marking Time Project’ Facebook page –https://www.facebook.com/pg/ThemisPavlov/about/
A Path Among Trees
Come now – the trees’ quiet council stirs,
Your growing years ring round their hearts,
They nod and know your every step,
Watch calmness yield as fear departs.
A path to ease through branching leaves,
Where snowdrops sooth all winter wars
And swaying canopies scatter sun
For you, through oaks and sycamores.
Just like a bird encased in clay –
Stretch out your limbs above the weight
To find yourself a lighter course
In leafed repose – rejuvenate.
So here in Nature peace transfers.
Come now – the trees’ quiet council stirs.
By Emma van Woerkom ©2017
ADDITIONAL – If you would like to take away a small memento of your visit, why not do a brass rubbing of the poems? After the opening ceremony re-usable Brass Rubbing kits will be attached to the posts displaying the poems. After use, please don’t forget to re-seal the kits ready for the next visitor. 🙂