Essex: Groundwork becomes art as students promote riverbank walk

STICKS, stones, leaves and whatever else they could find on the ground was more than enough for students from Dunmow St Mary’s Primary School and Writtle College to create a work of art.

As part of a programme to encourage greater community interest in the Riverbank Walk at St Mary’s Church, third year design students from Writtle worked with the local Year 6 children to create temporary artworks.

The Writtle students are studying for a degree in Landscape and Garden Design. This project forms part of their module “dialogues between art, landscape and community”. Working with children from Dunmow St Mary’s they had to create environmental artwork that reflected the spirit or sense of place using natural materials found in the Riverbank Walk.

The students and pupils were delighted with the artworks they made using leaves, wood chippings, sticks and other natural materials. They all learnt more about the trees and the environmental impact of the recent floods on the site.

Student George Nattrass said: “It was really rewarding to see the children use their creativity to engage with the landscape.”

Course tutor Jill Raggett said: “Community collaboration is a very important skill for a landscape or garden designer so it was a marvellous experience for our students to work with the children of Dunmow St Mary’s and the environment of the new Riverbank Walk.”

The project was funded with by the Community Spaces grants programme, which is being maintained by Groundwork UK. Community Spaces is part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces initiative.

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The Friends of St Mary’s Riverbank is keen for other local groups and schools to visit the Riverbank Walk and to use the site as an educational resource. For information contact co-ordinator Catherine Mummery on 01371 859767 or