In the afternoon i visited Sally Barker to try and get a feel for the nature reserve. As with Brun Valley Forest Park, this had a very different feel to the parks i had visited yesterday. This park is small. It is well maintained, but not manicured and most importantly of all it is not a Park. It is a nature reserve. Its treats are not in facilities within it, as with Corporation Park, but in the little gems of history, nature and environmental restoration that are dotted throughout.
Sally will talk to anyone. She will not only talk to anyone, she will introduce herself to anyone. This was great for me because on a short circuit of the nature trail we met a number of people, some of whome visit every day, some who have come since they were kids, some who traveled to the Reserve each day to spend time there and/ or to walk their dogs. One man told us of a family connection to the old hose that used to be in the reserve, another of a playground area that had been built and upon which he used to play as a child.
When not talking to strangers and throwing balls for their dogs (so that Sally could carry on the conversations) we discussed possible themes and ideas that had started to come up. These included perceptions of safety and danger (in general and not just in relation to Foxhill Bank) The sue of water as a theme. The history of the park adn her encounters with groups earlier in the day (this should be in her blog)
Not being a park this did feel very different and i am starting to wonder how i am going to pull something together that will be relevant to these diverse locations nd the different peoples who take advantage of them