Lost Valley Picnic

Lost Valley Picnic – Eastville Park, Bristol, June 1988.


This was an event dreamed up by my partner Peter Milner and some artist friends and colleagues who had been working over in the Fishponds area for a while. During this period a small, (slightly) hidden, wooded valley was discovered in Eastville Park that was felt to be a location that could happily host a summer afternoon’s quiet revelling and exploration.

The idea caught on and individuals within the group told other friends and local residents got to hear about it too so on  the appointed day (with no funding but much goodwill and humour) a sizeable gathering of assorted artists, musicians, actors, pedestrians, child scientists, stilt-walkers and elderflower-fritter makers assembled on top of the hill above the valley with an array of sound-making instruments and Scrapstore plunder. I was there to record the event with my camera.

Here, within a temporary, bannered enclosure insect outfits and other costumes were constructed then a band led a procession round the lake and into the Lost Valley where the water cycle was acted out by the child-scientists using bicycle wheels and vessels of water; the trees were strewn with nets that had captured colourful giant creatures; an imposing Lady strode in stripes through the glades – her head brushing the tree-tops; shadows were captured and the elderflower fritters were cooked and eaten in the dappled sunlight to accompanying song and music.

A largely spontaneous and delightful event that captured the imagination of those who took part, ensuring that word spread about it.  Consequently this led to some of the same people being commissioned to work on the Rainbow Woods project a few years later.