Have you ever been to Elsdon? Nestled in the heart of Northumberland National Park, local residents have described it as ‘a history book around a village green’. With a castle motte, bastles, a medieval pele tower and art deco houses, I think they’re right. The Parish Council set EPIC (Elsdon Projects in the Community) the task of ‘enhancing the pinfold’ – a listed structure on the village green, that has in recent years been used as a urinal and rubbish dump, but is very much loved by local people.
However, they were in need of a little help – they knew that most people wanted it to be cared for, but the community couldnt agree on what that meant, and how they could achieve it. They aproached the community engagement officers at Northumberland National Park Authority and were awarded a small grant to recieve some external support, and theat’s when they got in touch with me.
I met with EPIC at the start of the summer to listen to their ideas, and they consulted on a four part proposal for the project. As well as having conversations with local residents, and emailing a few questions out to the whole parish, they also set up a stall at the annual village fete.
When they’d all recovered from that, we had an open meeting to look at what people had said they valued about their pinfold:
So they’re now busy planning some investigations over the winter so they can find out what is hidden beneath the weeds, and some volunteer tasks to tidy up the overgrowth so we can see the daffodils in the spring. Meanwhile, they’re thinking about ways they’d like to show visitors that they care for their unique pinfold – from sculptures to stargazing, it’s certain to be appropriately EPIC.