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Witches, Dragons and Wild Ancient Crows

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The woods surrounding Oare Gunpowder Works were brought to life with music, art and entertainment last Sunday as the Swale Arts Forum hosted their eighth annual ‘Artist in the Woods’ event.

I love the tranquillity of the woods with its winding paths that follow the meandering stream that flows into the mill pond. It’s easy to lose yourself in the beauty of the place for a short while, at least until you are set up by crows or stumble across Pete the Dinosaur round the next bend in the path.

And that’s precisely what makes this event so much fun, because nestled away throughout the woods there were entertainers, works of art, beautifully hand crafted goods, activities for all ages to engage in and lots of interesting people to meet.

High up on the old test range I found amongst the various stalls, Great Kentspectations, a Kent base steampunk group who attend many of our events. They always appear to be having so much fun and anyone who hasn’t seen their engagement with Pete the Dinosaur should search out those videos, one is on our Facebook page, absolutely brilliant and I was only sad that I didn’t seen in person.

Big Fish Arts, a Sheppey based group which also support many of our local events excelled themselves with their utterly bonkers ‘murder of crows’ which proved both terrifying and entertaining in equal measure.

The squawking crows provided further entertainment with song and dance and on one or two occasions entered into combat with those they encountered including the perfectly innocent Star Crossed Fairies who it has to be said seem to multiple their numbers on each occasion I meet them.


Naturally, it wouldn’t be Artist in the Woods without a range of set piece art installations and the emphasis here is about having fun. Lurking in the water you may have found Nessy, or spotted Excalibar in the lower Mill Pond, found the absolutely fabulous 14ft Dragon created by creative mash up artist Lynsey Hyland, seen the witch who had crashed into a tree, or the leftovers from the Queens 90th Birthday Party and what about those crazy Jellyfish gently floating high up in the branches of trees.

It really is like no other event locally and the Swale Arts Forum do a fantastic job in providing us with all these great events to attend throughout the year.

Andy Hudson


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