Imaginative Play at the Hidden Hillfort launch event

Painting ‘Story Stones’ in the sunshine …

On 29th June 2019, we hosted the launch of our fantastic CAER hillfort dig. We utilised the Gospel Hall & surrounding space to make this a fun filled, informative day – including walking tours to the dig itself, situated in the woods below the hillfort.

Amongst other activities – including our ‘Love our Hillfort’ logo competition led by creative project artist Paul Evans, a beautiful poetry reading by Sue Hamblen, information boards about exciting future plans for development of the Heritage Centre, and artefacts on display – we decided to use this as an opportunity to explore ideas for our heritage playground that will be developed over the next year.

As the local CAER Hidden Hillfort project artist (and ACE arts engagement officer) I am always keen to trial new ways of creatively engaging with talented local youngsters, exploring ways of effectively evaluating what works best in order to engage most effectively! So I developed a series of activities based on existing play resources and involving new ways of learning information about the hillfort – ideas to help get their imaginative cogs turning!

Activities included imaginative play with giant ‘heritage’ Jenga, timeline stepping stones, ‘story stones’ and stickmen to encourage the creation and exploration of stories of times gone by at the hillfort – and a mud cafe to cook up Iron Age broths and potions! I ran the activities alongside the ever talented local Community artist Charlotte.

Written feedback on the day included: ‘Amazing scenery and lovely staff!  The community impact is amazing!’ & ‘Wonderful day, lots of fun for everyone – I would 100% recommend!’

Some of the best days I have had working with the CAER Hidden Hillfort project are at local events like this, where the community are so enthusiastic to learn about their local heritage, and I’m looking forward to planning more community heritage art engagements in the future months!

Nicola Parsons