Field Notes from Warnham (2018/19)


A public art project at
Warnham Nature Reserve

  sculptor WILL NASH and

Developed by Alison Turnbull Associates
Supported by Arts Council England, Horsham District Council
and the Friends of Warnham Nature Reserve

FIELD NOTES FROM WARNHAM was a year-long project to bring the written word and small artworks to Warnham Nature Reserve in West Sussex as part of the Horsham District Year of Culture 2019. Visitors were invited to the Reserve to discover the spirit of the place and to contribute words and images of their own about the flora, fauna and friends they have encountered there.

TANYA SHADRICK was onsite at regular intervals throughout the year of the project, to share and gather observations. In March, Year 5 pupils from the local area joined her to play with time and scale in a day-long event called ‘I met a traveller from an antique land’. Inspired by the line from Warnham-born poet Shelley, microscope sessions and site tours first invited students to think about primitive life-forms and migrant birds. Tanya then introduced the work of ancient Japanese poet Matsuo Basho and challenged them to write their own haiku, based on their experience of the nature reserve.

Tanya Shadrick and School Group at Warnham Nature Reserve

WILL NASH then developed two sculptures for the new Nature Trail: The Bat Bothy and Tri Helix. Both sculptures were built on site by Will Nash with staff from Warnham Nature Reserve and volunteers from the Horsham Green Gym (an independent volunteer nature conservation group run by its members), with support from Horsham District Council.

The Bat Bothy takes inspiration from the Reserve’s historical association with the Iron industry in the seventeenth century, being based on the shape of a blast furnace of that time, but also incorporates access to the central space for bats to roost in.

The Tri Helix is a wooden structure which takes its inspiration from the incredible shapes of diatoms that can be found in the microscopic world of the Reserve.