Farmer Burt played by Robert Saunders IMAGE: John Knight
Submitted for publication in the Brentwood Gazette
Characters, histories and nature are being uncovered to help people connect with their local landscapes.
The Land of the Fanns, spanning 185 square kilometres from south west Essex to east London, is an area rich in history, diverse in landscapes and full of fascinating characters and stories.
The five-year Land of the Fanns Landscape Partnership Scheme has worked with partners to bring those stories and histories to a wider audience and help people discover and appreciate the landscapes in their local area.
There are 11 projects underway at key sites across the Land of the Fanns which aim to help interpret the landscape for the public so they have a better understanding of what lies before them.
Iona Johnson as the Watervole IMAGE: John Knight
Interpretation can take many forms including public events, exhibition boards and imaginative guidebooks.
To help highlight the significance of the history and wildlife at a number of key sites the Land of the Fanns project has helped facilitate the development of a range of inspirational historic, fictional human and wildlife characters to be used in interpretation.
These characters were recently showcased at the successful fortnight-long Tales of the Fanns walking festival and finale event at Langdon Hills Country Park.
These projects have not only helped people understand the history behind the sites, but they have also involved volunteers throughout lockdown, giving them an opportunity to become actively involved in their local area.
One highlight of the projects underway can be found at Weald Country Park where a new interpretation will soon bring to life the history of this once vast estate which dates back to the 12th Century.
Charles Ellis Heaton, 17thc owner of Bedfords Park played by Alastair Gooldon IMAGE: John Knight
New information boards and leaflets with walking routes around the park are being finalised, so watch this space! Paths in the park, and particularly around the lake, have recently received a makeover, whilst opening up views and restoring the reedbeds have enhanced the site for wildlife and visitors.
Benjamin Sanderson, Land of the Fanns scheme manager, said “It’s fantastic to see these interpretation projects finally coming to fruition.
“The characters really help bring the stories behind the sites to life, helping to showcase the diversity of history and wildlife that is so unique to this area.”
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The Land of the Fanns is a unique £2.4 million Landscape Partnership Scheme, awarded £1.36 million by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in 2016.
The five-year Scheme brings together nine partner organisations committed to working towards a shared goal of enabling local people to discover, restore, and enjoy what’s special about the local landscape.
Thames Chase Trust is the lead partner in the Scheme and other partners are: Essex County Council, Forestry England, Thames Estuary Partnership, Brentwood Borough Council, London Borough of Havering, London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, Thames21 and Thurrock Council.
To find out more about the Land of the Fanns and how you can get involved in environmental and heritage projects, visit http://www.landofthefanns.org
The Brentwood Gazette covers areas including but not limited to Billericay, Brentwood, Hutton, Shenfield, Stock and Wickford in Essex.
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