hEdges of Hilperton and Paxcroft Mead – New model wild farming project
ruralrecreation (Alex Murdin and partners) are really pleased to have started working on a new art project for a housing extension around Hilperton. Contrasting the first set of macro enclosures of common lands in the agricultural revolution (which reached its peak in the late 19th century) with an inexorable wave of micro enclosures as housing demand continues to rise, hEdges is about current territorial and environmental commons, fluctuating human boundaries, ecological conduits and food production systems.
hEdges will manifest as a new model farm at scale model size, a deconstructed wild farm for the future. Two public path verges and one section of park in southern Hilperton will be marked out as new linear fields where edible native plant species will be sown (crab apples, medlars, hazel, pear, elder, Good King Henry, Fat Hen, etc). With the help of local “guerrilla gardeners” and landscape designers Ginkgo Projects suburban scrub, garden escapees and monocultural grass will be replaced with foragable plants, re-seeding and re-weeding for the future and creating a wild eating & drinking resource for the nation’s food security.
I just loved the names of some of the fields which had a distinctiveness and poetry all of their own – who could not want to visit fields called Moon Light, Cheeseland, Shoulder of Mutton or the Frying Pan? On a more serious note I think that where green fields have to be used for housing it’s up to all of us to do what we can to replace the ecologically important hedgerow habitat that is massively in decline. To me the best way of doing this is to encourage people to think of the value of the hedges to them and the wildlife, so the hEdges project is about wild food as well as making Hilperton more sustainable
Future plans for the project include a number of signs marking the old field names and some quirky sculptures of hedge furniture like kissing gates and stiles. The project also features a number of community engagement activities including collecting hedgerow recipes, a residents photography competition and even official parish council gnomes – all featured online.
The project has developed from Commission Projects public art plan to Wiltshire Council which came about as a result of funding from housing developers Abbey Homes and Taylor Wimpey. ruralrecreation (Alex Murdin and partners) was pleased to be appointed to develop an arts scheme in conjunction with local community partners Hilperton Parish Council, Paxcroft Mead Residents Association, Curo Housing and Wiltshire Council.
Please do visit the hEdges website to find out more, get involved and keep up to date with the project as it develops.