February 9, 2012, by Lucy

Location 2: Alkborough Flats

Location 2: Alkborough Flats, North Lincolnshire

We spent Tuesday on the train, travelling from Falmouth to ‘sunny Scunny’ as the train manager proudly announced as we pulled into a rather cold and snowy Scunthorpe. After meeting Mike Pearson at our B&B we headed out to a pub in Brigg for some warming Lincolnshire sausages and mash and a discussion about the film.

Today we were filming in North Lincolnshire with Mike, who was born and brought up in the county. The chosen location was the small village of Alkborough which stands on the cliff ridge overlooking the Trent Falls where the Rivers Trent and Ouse merge to become the mighty Humber. The interview between Steve and Mike was filmed near Julian’s Bower, a unicursal turf maze, 43 feet (13 m) across, lying in a small depression on a small plateau close to the cliff edge at Alkborough. I’ve been to Alkborough twice before to learn more about Mike’s soundwork Warplands, commissioned by the Landscape and Environment Programme’s Impact Fellowship, and located in this landscape. Today however the maze was covered in snow and hardly visible which put a stop to the ‘maze running’ and other games detailed on the information boards…

Talking landscape 

This flat and sparse landscape has a rich agricultural heritage, and, in contrast to the seemingly very still character it appeared to have today, is a place that is constantly changing, having successively been ‘won’ through a process of ‘warping’ (built up through the deposition of alluvial soil delivered by the rivers in flood), and ‘let go’, returned to a water land. Mike and Steve discussed the most recent change – a return in part to the sea through the cutting of a breach in the flood defences. Alkborough Flats is the first coastal realignment site to be developed as part of the Humber Shoreline Management Plan and the UK’s largest managed realignment site. The site is managed to encourage biodiversity and the development of a variety of different habitats including inter-tidal mudflats, fresh and salt-water reed beds as well as wet and dry grassland. Mike is a keen birdwatcher, and was equipped with his binoculars so pointed out his spots to the rest of us, including a pair of boxing hares!

Flat, sparse landscape

This section of the film explores the role that performance work and their makers can have in discussions of environmental change. In his attempt to perform change, Mike has created a sound work that reflects the cyclical process of coastal change, drawing on a deep history of resilience and a community’s ability to imagine and work with change to bring this lesser known landscape to life.

After refreshments in Alkborough Chapel, Ben, Tom and Matt filmed Steve and Mike for a number of different walking shots down on the flats, as well as the intro and outros for the section. This was a very different setting to Mullion, not least because the water was much further away! At 2 o’clock we said goodbye to Mike and began our journey to Suffolk arriving in Woodbridge five hours later to be met by Simon Read from the train and ready to enjoy a very nice meal. Location 3 tomorrow!

You can read more about Mike’s soundwork Warplands on the Landscape and Environment website http://www.landscape.ac.uk/landscape/impactfellowship/peforminggeographieswarplands/warplands.aspx

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