The Festival of Words on Cranborne Chase

by Matt Miles
16th October 2023

Let us tell you a little story. In the beginning, before paper and ink, before stone and chisel, there were only words. Stories were as brittle as glass and as hard as legend. Passed down from lip to ear and with every retelling some parts would change, and yet with every retelling some parts would stay the same.

In conjunction with the Chalke and Chase Landscape Partnership Scheme, Words in The Landscape seeks to explore the chalk grasslands, riversides, woodlands, and fields nestled between the historic market town of Salisbury to the east, and Blandford and Shaftesbury to the west. Using funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund we will strengthen the connection between history, culture, and nature by telling old stories and creating new ones.

The Words in The Landscape event runs between the 20th to the 29th of October with various different locations and venues. There will be story walks, online workshops, poetry competitions and much more culminating in a one-day festival at the Ancient Technology Centre in Cranborne, Dorset.

The event is being organised by former Bournemouth Poet Laureate (they still haven’t crowned a new one) and Wordmakers and Silence Breakers head honcho Myriam San Marco alongside the Poetry Platform herself Abby G Poetree. These two wonderful beings are integral to the BCP spoken word scene and it is encouraging to see them spreading wings and hoofing it out into wilder pastures. If you are looking for poetry in the Bournemouth area, then be sure to look up the regular events that they both run.

The day will be split into 2 parts with the first running from 12 to 5pm and consisting of creative writing workshops and various creative activities, community poetry writing, a showcase of competition winners, and a fiery finale show from the bard of Exeter himself Ed Tripp.

The evening will bring the audience into the spellbinding circular performance space of the Earthhouse. Here they will be delighted with a selection of commissioned work from local and legendary writers, campfires and marshmallows, and finishing with a storied slot by the festival’s headliner Rachel Rose Reid.

Words in The Landscape seeks to reconnect with the old ways and the power of words to shape and define the land around us. Nestled into the picturesque setting of the Cranborne Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and taking place among ancient roundhouses and burial mounds, there is a direct link to the gods and ancestors that walked this green land for generations before us.

This is already set to be one of the best poetry events in Dorset. Highlighting the strength of the local scene and inviting premier poets from all around the country to join us down in a breathtaking natural setting. It is an ambitious and amazing project that brings together funding from the National Lottery, with the vision of Chalke & Chase, and the creative energy and passions of Myriam San Marco and Abby G Poetree. Spaces are limited, and it is recommended you book yourself a ticket for this once in a lifetime opportunity.


Tickets for the Festival of Words: The Chase & Chalke Festival of Words Tickets, Fri 20 Oct 2023 at 12:00 | Eventbrite