A Magical day at the Fairy Festival

Last Sunday we had a very magical day at our annual Fairy Festival.

Hundreds of people joined us to see the adventures of Fairy Big Toe and her friends in the roundhouse, listen to the music of Horndean Ukulele Group and meet the Fairy Queen!

We also had wand and pendant making, face painting and a wishing tree.

Here’s a selection of wonderful photos taken by our very talented volunteer Eleanor Sopwith.

 

Simex strikes Butser!

Last week something very different happened on the farm….!

We played host to a small part of Simex 2018; the worlds largest simulated disaster relief exercise. This huge event, featuring a total of over 3000 people, took place all across Hampshire over three days. The exercise is an annual event, running since 2012, however this year was the first time the exercise has ever come to Butser.  Continue reading

Channelling the Inner Neolithic

A guest post by DD Storyteller

We have commisioned DD Storyteller to create a series of interactive stories to bring the farm to life for our younger visitors. DD will be training up our volunteers to deliver the stories and will be giving preview performances in May/June, more information…

auroch-horns-on


As a Consultant Storyteller, creating interactive performance stories for children, I not only write the stories but I also create the props that bring them to life.

I love every aspect of the creative process so when I needed to create a Neolithic cave painting in the form of a map, for a specially commissioned story I have written for Butser Ancient Farm, I couldn’t wait to channel my inner Neolithic.

First stop was the Llandygai House at Butser Ancient Farm at the heart of their Stone Age area. On the wall of the house is a replica of a hunting scene from Turkey, similar to that found at Chatalhuyuk. This painting is also the inspiration for my story and map. The scene shows the hunting of an Aurochs and has a multitude of warriors and hunters surrounding this huge Neolithic beast. Bows drawn, spears raised, and adorned with hunting apparel, these brave tribes people had a mighty task ahead of them.

I wanted to keep my painting as authentic as possible despite being drawn by a twenty-first century homo sapien and so I created images reminiscent of those found in the painting in the Llandygai house. I researched cave paintings and created silhouette images of the animals in the story: Lynx, Stag Beetle, Wolf, Elk, Bear, Boar and Beaver. These were all animals that were found in the Neolithic although now some are endangered or even extinct in Britain.

I then outlined the animal silhouettes on a large canvas, drawing their habitats around them, again in the Neolithic style.

After a light grey wash of paint to give the appearance of a stone wall I started to fill in the detail. I did this using similar colours to those used in the Neolithic period. During this period they may have used iron oxide to get the red colour, iron to get yellow and manganese for black. I used the modern convenience of paint blocks, specifically Derwent Inktense Ink blocks as they gave me exactly the effect I needed. You can draw with them like pastels and then use water to create an intense paint colour on the canvas.

Here’s the finished map:

For the performance, clues will be attached to the map to tell the story as the audience takes a journey back in time to discover what the Aurochs is and where it lives.

You can join us in ‘The Hunt For The Aurochs’, at Butser this May/June, designed for 7-12 year olds. For more information on these brand new, original, interactive mini mystery stories, you can visit my events page here. I look forward to seeing you there for a neolithic adventure!

The Magic Beast

A recent sighting of a white deer on the farm prompted one of our facebook followers to share the beautiful poem below with us. Timothy had written the poem after a similar deer sighting nearby.  We thought it would be lovely to share, particularly as it’s World Poetry Day today.

Thank you Timothy Concannon for sharing your work with us.

29365542_1574046092648580_9037364625516433208_n

The magic beast

See a flash, unexpected, against the trees

A herd of deer is there, but something’s strange.

A white hart, unearthly, among the rest

A magic sight, the stuff of legend,

Here in the hangars of my home,

Not fairyland. Continue reading

Funding for new storytelling project

We’re delighted to announce that we have received funding to support a project to creatively interpret Butser Ancient Farm through a series of specially commissioned stories.

Councillor Robert Mocatta, as part of Hampshire County Council, has awarded the County Councillor Grant so that we can run training sessions for our volunteers to deliver the specially written tales.

Two stories have been written by local author Dawn Nelson to enchant our younger visitors with tales of the people who may have lived in ancient homes like those at Butser; the interactive tales will transport our visitors back in time to imagine life in an ancient farm.

auroch-horns-on

The funding will enable Dawn to run training sessions for volunteers at Butser so more people will be able to tell the stories and help bring this special place to life.

dsc_9985One of the stories will focus on the hunt for the Auroch, a scene painted on the wall of our Neolithic Llandygai house whilst the other will tell the tale of a missing Manx Loaghtan Sheep.

17361688_1247362005316992_656363232805165089_n

Thank you very much to Hampshire County Council and Councillor Robert Mocatta for supporting this exciting project.