Forest of Delights, Friars Crag, Keswick
An art installation created on Friar’s Crag, Derwentwater to celebrate the life of Octavia Hill, the social reformer and environmental campaigner who helped found the National Trust. She died 100 years ago this year. She had a special influence in Cumbria as, together with Sir Robert Hunter and Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley – the other co-founding members of the National Trust – Octavia raised enough public funds to buy the Brandlehow estate on the shores of Derwentwater to prevent a housing development. Brandlehow was opened to the public in 1902 by Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter, and was the National Trust’s first acquisition in the Lake District.
Octavia Hill lobbied fiercely during the 19th century, convinced that green space outdoors was essential to everyone – her vision was for the National Trust to create ‘outdoor sitting rooms’ that would be free to anyone who needed them.
The new installation has been created by artists commissioned by Cathy Newbery-Riversmeet Community Cooperative Upcycling Project. The aim of the project is to help make second hand goods desirable by using creative people who have the skills to remodel objects, and provide training for people who want to do it themselves. The energy that goes into making products for our use should be valued more, and by using traditional craft skills, updated for today’s requirements we could all have bespoke handmade items to treasure for our homes. All the materials and objects in the installation have been recycled, reused and redesigned. Riversmeet is working towards a more creative, cooperative and sustainable way of life.