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Sunset over the River Trent at Barrow Upon Trent. Photo © 2020 - 2021 Steven Cheshire (Transforming the Trent Valley)

Sunset over the River Trent at Barrow Upon Trent. Photo © 2020 - 2021 Steven Cheshire (Transforming the Trent Valley)

Tales of the Riverbank

I’ve now been working at home for over a month due to COVID 19 and the lockdown. While I am getting used to the new routines, and I’ve been counting my blessings in my situation (I am so thankful for my garden), I am definitely missing being able to get out and about to visit nature reserves and waterways in the Transforming the Trent Valley landscape. I find myself describing my favourite sites to other people during conversation, and I’m looking forward to going back out to see how different they look!

I only started working in the Transforming the Trent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme in June 2019, so have no previous knowledge or memories about how the landscape once looked before much of the development in recent years. We hope that through the Transforming the Trent Valley Landscape scheme, we will be able to see noticeable positive change in some of the wild areas we are working in, with an increase in biodiversity and more people using and caring for the green spaces.

To really see the impact we are making, we would also like to learn more about how the landscape used to look in times gone by and how people engaged with the rivers and their floodplains.

To build a bank of memories and stories, we are asking you for help – we want to hear your stories, experiences and reminiscences!

This is your chance to have a go at some creative writing, and let us know about your lived experiences of the landscape. This could take any form – poetry, a short story, an interview, written or filmed pieces, spoken word, pictures, “stream of consciousness”, haikus, photos… the more creative the better!

Some prompts to get you started…

  • Did you play in the river when you were a child, or do you take your children to play on the riverbanks?
  • What is your absolute favourite spot in the TTTV landscape, and how has it changed over time?
  • Perhaps a grandparent and grandchild can compare their favourite games to play outside and record the conversation?
  • Can you write a poem about your favourite wildlife?
  • Who is the most interesting person you ever met in the landscape?
  • Maybe take on the perspective of the biggest, oldest tree you know of. What will that tree have seen over time?
  • If you have old photos of the rivers Trent or Dove, write 2 sentences to describe the moment in time.

Here’s my haiku*

The river flows by
Sunlight glittering like stars
Warm glow on my skin

With your permission, we may use your Tales of the Riverbank throughout our scheme for interpretation panels, films and documentaries, and we will make sure we credit you when we use it.

Send us your contributions via email to Nicola Lynes, Community Engagement Officer
e: nicola.lynes@supportstaffordshire.org.uk or via our social media channels @TheTrentValley.

*Did you know that a haiku is a short form of Japanese poetry consisting of three phrases, and is typically characterized by three qualities:

  • The essence of haiku is "cutting". This is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a kireji ("cutting word") between them, a kind of verbal punctuation mark which signals the moment of separation and colours the manner in which the juxtaposed elements are related.
  • Traditional haiku often consist of 17 "syllables", in three phrases of 5, 7, and 5 "syllables", respectively.
  • A kigo (seasonal reference), usually drawn from a saijiki, an extensive but defined list of such terms.