Bramblefields is a small nature reserve just down the road from my house between the allotments and a housing estate that was built in the late 1990s. I helped lobby for it to be set up, contacting local Green and wildlife organisations, to reserve some green space for wildlife linked to other wildlife corridors along the river. Part of the land was where we had allotments, other land had been a horse field that was too waterlogged for either allotments or housing and was developed as a wetland area. It backs onto the local junior school and includes an adventure play area and is used for various school nature activities.
The area – and its magic – have been one of my key discoveries and from Lockdown. Although it is used at certain times by dog walkers, it is generally quiet. So a good place to go when my normal daily walk along the river was too crowded with joggers as well as rowers and other users who would normally have been at work or exercised in the gym.
It is also a place surrounded by rapid (noisy) development connected to Cambridge North Station and Cambridge peri-urban expansion. It is also subject to sporadic outbursts of vandalism that threaten to destroy some of the most valuable wildlife habitats.
‘Bramblefield Chronicles’ is an experimental illustration, photography and video project exploring how sketchbook work and creative DSLR/iPhone photography and video capture and processing can together form the basis for developing a short graphic novel:
The development of narrative, images and creative styles is based on supporting documentary work:
It is part of longer-term documentary and creative projects linked to possible future community work with Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust and local school next to Bramblefields.
Bramblefield Chronicles: documentary photography
Beasts of Bramblefield:
Edited from iPhone videos of walks through Bramblefields, with audio. Featuring squirrels, deer, birds, cat, traces of children, litter and my large shadow.
‘Tale of Pumpkin Wood’
A sketchbook-based short graphic fiction book about love, violence and impossibilities of insulating communities and life again external events and inevitable passage of time.