Wednesday 31 October 2012

Scoping the Brampton Valley Way (again!)

We had always hoped to site mosaic way markers along the valley way and it has taken three years to raise the money - many thanks to Northamptonshire Community Foundation and Midlands Cooperative Society for helping to make this dream a reality. 

Rangers Chris Howe and Dan Hurst opening the gates so we can scope the Valley Way by van

Under the bridge looks like a good place

Near this bench perhaps?

Exploring the Triangular Meadow

and finding the Great Burnet

One of the bridges near the Market Harborough End

Artist Carole Miles will be creating 12 designs based on photographs taken during our photography walks. Carole will make 6 panels herself and work with groups and individuals on the other 6. We are excited to see what she will come up with!

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Kelmarsh Tales of Terror

It may have taken a while but finally 
we were able to take our seats 

in amongst the trees with that master of tales

Allan Davies

Occasionally leaves twirled down from branches

landing on the picnic table and forest floor whilst Allan drew us into his world of stories both ancient and strange.

After an alfresco lunch we walked back from the New Covert, and steeling our nerves we ventured into the open side of Kelmarsh Tunnel 

with only the light of glow sticks and the 

eerily beautiful flute playing of our Pied Piper to guide us. 

You can see / hear part of the story here, even in the dark, damp tunnel, we were captivated and on the way back out, buoyed up by the experience we tested out or skills as ghosts and ghouls, making as much noise as we could!

We noticed that the trees and bushes were heavy with berries, more red than green, a sign of the winter to come.

This was our final event on the Brampton Valley Way as part of our On the Right Track project. It's been a walk through the seasons that has brought pleasure and new experiences for all who took part. 

Back to Books would like to thank Awards For All, Canada Council For the Arts, the Northampton and Lamport Railway, Northamptonshire County Council, Word in Edgeways, Kathy Page, Ros Stoddart, Carole Miles, Andrew Rushton and all our walkers, cyclers, readers, makers and writers for making this such a special project.

We are, however, not quite ready to leave the Valley Way behind us, we have a new project planned and funding secured from Northamptonshire Community Foundation and Midlands Co-operative Society Making a Difference Fund, for the creation of a series of mosaic Way Markers to be sited along the route! 

Monday 1 October 2012

We Were Nominated!

Maureen Walvin and Carole Miles were proud to attend the Northamptonshire Community Foundation Annual Awards which took place at The Royal Theatre in Northampton. Back To Books was nominated for an "outstanding contribution to the community" in the Sports, Culture and Heritage. The project nominated was New Vistas, Wider Horizons which took place at the Cube last October. We didn't win but we feel like winners having been placed in the same company as so many inspirational organisations and community projects. It was a wonderful evening and many thanks to the amazing team at Northamptonshire Community Foundation who continue to make wonderful things possible within the community!

Monday 24 September 2012

Grow Your Tenner on

Local Giving are have announced that their £500,000 Grow Your Tenner campaign will begin at 10am Tuesday 25th September!

Through the Northamptonshire Community Foundation Back To Books has a webpage on the site for a trial period and from 25th September, will encourage new supporters to make a one-time donation by matching up to £10 per donation. From September 25 until all £500,000 is gone, Local Giving will match the first £10 of every donation made on So, if you give £10, Local Giving will grow it to £20. If you claim Gift Aid, it becomes £22.50! 

Back To Books raises funds for activities on a project by project basis, by donating £10 during this campaign it could really make a difference to what we are able to do in the future. 

If you would like to help us you can make your donation by following the link to our Local Giving Page

Wednesday 12 September 2012

First Impression

The Writing Group who have been working with author Kathy Page during the Online Writing Course Ticket To Write have almost all completed their short stories. Artist Carole Miles thought it would be an interesting addition to the work produced to make an image to go with each story and will be working with some of the writers in her relocated studio / shed. Her first visitor was Shusha Walmsley.

Demonstration of one collagraph technique

Shusha deciding which technique to use - cutting into a board with a scalpel 

or applying textured wallpaper to create shape and form.

Choice made and wallpaper it is!

Happily ensconced at the end of the galley like work space.

Inking up the printing plate

Colours applied and ready to print

Winding the wheel

Hey presto - illustration for Shusha's story.

Monday 3 September 2012

Felting the Landscape Installation Photographs

It has taken quite some time to edit and upload the photographs taken in March, which saw Carole Miles and Andrew Rushton installing and photographing the group's Felted Landscape Vessels along part of the Brampton Valley just a few miles from the Hanging Houghton Crossing near Lamport. They were viewed with much curiousity by by a host of Twitchers hoping to catch sight of Skylarks and a rarely sighted owl visiting Northamptonshire. The idea behind the temporary installation was to connect the works with the landscape and the sheep that graze in many parts of the Brampton Valley.

The full Photo Set featuring all the works made by participants can be viewed in the Flickr Set here

Copies of the images printed on digital watercolour paper at A3 size can be purchased by emailing Back To Books 
Prices on request.

Saturday 1 September 2012

Almost Autumnal

Whilst out for a cycle we were reminded

that it hasn't been the best of summer's!

We noticed that the acorns are fattening fast

the colours are changing

this feels like the bridging moment 

between Summer and Autumn.

  The sky is often bleached out by cloud cover,

 there are strange contrasts to be seen

seed heads and rust


lush greenery damp underfoot, interwoven in complex patterns.

There aren't many sloes but plenty of elder berries ripening, it's hard to tell whether things are coming on early or late! The Woodland Trust has an interesting feature about the weather and it's effect on fruiting this year.

There are still small bright patches of colour to delight the eye. 

It hasn't only been the weather that has been unpredictable, due to unforeseen circumstances it wasn't possible to stage an August Photography walk but there will be a return to Cottesbrooke walk. Details to follow soon, get your walking boots and cameras ready, the Sphinx awaits you!