One for the Rook

Bergh Apton – September 2021

Aeons ago, an idea was dropped in a celestial pond and caused ripples, ever-widening, ever-imaginative. The idea originated with Robert Macfarlane, the celebrated Cambridge author of matters of wilderness. He realised that the latest children’s OE Dictionary had left out words for the natural world and determined to do something about it. That something was a truly beautiful book “Lost Words”,  in collaboration with the illustrator, Jackie Morris; many primary schools, including ours, received copies, donated by the Norfolk Naturalists Trust.

In 2018 plans began for Bergh Apton Arts to put on a new ‘showing’. Things were going well. The core professional, creative team was enthusiastic. BUT then Covid blew in from the east. So the drawing boards had to be brought out again. What evolved was One for the Rook – the first line of an ancient farming doggerel “One for the rook, one for the crow, one to rot and one to grow”. Many were volunteered, others were invited, more were cajoled into taking part, writing, painting lanterns, composing music, singing, reciting, sculpting or just giving of themselves and their time. Some 60 people from Bergh Apton and beyond built One for the Rook; and they came. All 530 of them. They received an idiosyncratic programme designed by Di Byford and set by Kaarin Wall and visitors spread the word with enthusiasm. It was truly a Field of Dreams!

One for the Rook would not have been possible without the generous financial support of the Fanny Thursby Trust, Geoffrey Watling Charity, Kip & Alison Bertram Charitable Trust, Town Close Estate Charity. And the Trail Travellers marched across land with thekind permission of the ownersBergh Apton PCC, Bergh Apton Conservation Trust, Andy Carr, Suzanne Mayes & Chris Mewton, Anna & Francis Meynell, Christopher & Liz Meynell.

Below are a selection of photographs from the event, followed by a selection of the feedback received from visitors.

Those who came wrote responses to what they had just experienced – here’s a selection, that try to explain the phenomenon of “the Trail that wasn’t a Trail”, so much better:

  • inspirational & imaginative/creative trail. Best I’ve undertaken”. Very well done
  • Another Bergh Apton TRIUMPH
  • the sculptures look fabulous! Well done!! Also loved the labyrinth & the church.
  • More inventiveness from the most creative parish in Norfolk. Thank you.
  • Very ingenious production of species in nature, artistry in objects & words.
  • We thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and the intellectual challenge, the interactive weaving & spinning the web, creating the mosaic at the end.
  • I loved the trail – so beautiful, appropriate to the times in so many ways.
  • We’ve been delighted and impressed with each of your Bergh Apton extravagansas – each so original and creative. Hefty pat on the back!
  • what wonderful woodland – after trials & tribulations of modern life it was lovely to slow right down & be with nature & sounds 
  • The readings made us pause for thought and contemplate the relevance to our lives. An excellent way to appreciate everything around us and in our lives.
  • loved the spider’s web, cloud watching – the mirrors, the labyrinth & the natural dyes. Wonderful – loved the QR codes
  • wonderful trail, enjoyed the sculptures, reading in Norfolk accent out in nature, brings them alive! Kids loved weaving the web. wonderful, unique, thank you.
  • absolutely beautiful with wonderful poems, amazing music and of course the glorious countryside, the singing of the birds and the gentle sounds of the river.
  • I am just back in the church from walking the labyrinth. I was enchanted. The singing from the river, nobody about so I joined with singing to and with the river. I loved the circle of logs to sit and read about the Minotaur and then took a stone to the centre.
  • A magical, sacred, sunlit, shady, many armed, deep, prickly, cloudless, creature laden, song filled poetic mosaic of wonder. BRAVO!! Balm to the soul.
  • The everydayness, the ordinariness of nature, its scruffy complexity, how precious your trail has made it – the loss we mourn for – reflected in all our lives.

Thank you to everyone who made One for the Rook possible and memorable.