Ramparts, ash, mud, water

Yesterday Ruth and I enjoyed a wonderful outdoor workshop with a group of home educating families.  We met in the car park at Poles Coppice on Callow Lane above Minsterley, and walked over to Callow Hillfort, finding huge oaks with beefsteak bracket fungus, a badger skull and plentiful squelchy mud.

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in shoots of spring a welly-run adventure into mud

At Callow Hillfort we charged the ramparts, rising and falling over the ditches to reach the top of the fort.  Ruth gave out balls of clay and we pressed them into bark and leaf and bone and stone.  I gave out Poem Notes booklets and the children wrote furiously, leaning on each other, on trees, on their hands, writing upside down and sideways to get ideas down.  They sat in trees and wrote:

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astride a tree, my pony of the hillfort

I gathered words from the children as we went along, and I’m editing them into a poem.  Captions to the photos are extracts, originating from the children’s words.

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an Iron Age child tree-marking with a thick handful of charcoal
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a powdered earwig saved from softest wood ash
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we ford the dewpond, use wellies to stir up silt, divine our futures, make guesses at the past
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badger skull drives his canines into clay, makes a new face
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trees eye us greenly
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we runnel the hedgerow, mostly invisible, hardly quiet

I’m very much looking forward to our next session on Friday morning in the village hall, when we’ll explore more detailed working in clay and words, and welcome our Iron Age archaeologists back again to share artefacts and life from 2000 years ago in Shropshire.

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