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New podcasts to showcase our connection with South Downs rivers

New podcasts to showcase our connection with South Downs rivers

Wild garlic, the Sussex dialect, and recollections of the Shoreham Cement Works were among the topics discussed as writers held community workshops that will inspire a series of new podcasts.

Seven writers have been commissioned to pen 10 audio stories or poems – each one focussing on one of the seven rivers that weave across the National Park.

As part of their work, the wordsmiths have been engaging with local communities in the South Downs area to find out more about how people and the landscape interact.

Sarah Hehir focussed on the River Ouse and in particular the town of Lindfield. She spent time in Lindfield leading  a poetry writing workshop, which encouraged a combination of abstract poetry with first person monologue to reflect living and working by the river. Through this, Sarah learnt some Sussex dialect, foraged for food, and even ended up with inspiration for her piece – wild garlic.

The River Ouse

Meanwhile, Sara Clifford drew inspiration from the River Adur and was intrigued by the cement factory at Beeding, above Shoreham on the river. Sara interviewed people who used to work there, as well as taking several walks along the river, taking in view of the derelict factory on one side and Cissbury and Chanctonbury Rings rising above the fields on the other side.

Rosanna Lowe has been working with Arts On Prescription, a Hastings-based organisation that links arts and wellbeing through social prescribing. She made three river trips with group members – tracing the Cuckmere from Alfriston to the sea, visiting various bridges along the Arun and a trip to the River Rother. Rosanna said: “The creative writing workshops produced an amazing stream of stories, dreams and images and our river trips were a wonderful exploration of the delights on our doorstep. Water is such a balm for mind, body and soul.”

The project, called Full Harvest, is being run by arts organisation Applause in partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority.

The podcasts will be launched to the public this summer and will be available to download and listen on the SDNPA and Applause websites and popular listening platforms such as Spotify and Apple Podcasts