The ‘Green Line’ Workshop, May 2013

From Grass Roots to Green Lines:

EU_flag_LLP_EN-01(1)-1A Grundtvig Learner Workshop

Ltvn trail

exploring & creating slow journeys

An International Workshop based in Welsh & Shropshire Border communities

12th – 18th May 2013

The Workshop encouraged participants to develop ‘Green Lines’ – ‘trails’ that provide personal, social, environmental, cultural, & heritage, educational, health, celebratory & economic benefits to individuals and communities.

Members of the Green Line Workshop were from a wide range of European countries including Italy, Poland, Latvia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Germany & Romania. Many are active as leaders in their local communities.

Bishop’s Castle provided the accommodation and study base for this event with activities occurring in Bishop’s Castle, Mainstone, Clun and Knighton.

The Workshop investigated local ‘trail’ based initiatives in towns and countryside, exploring through a series of creative experiences, the underlying reasons and purposes for developing ‘slow journey’ trails & experiences & devising ideas and plans for development in their localities.

Themes encountered included: Quests, Tourist trails, Healthy Walking, Written Guides, Town Tours, Open Gardens, Safari Meals, Walking Groups & Festivals, Pilgrimages, Heritage Journeys, Specialist tours, collecting experiences, story telling, creative recording techniques & publishing.

Wkshp Wales map

The Workshop included group social activities designed to encourage participants to consider creative ways in which they may develop & build support for their own local programmes

The group took evening meals at most of the hotel and restaurants in Bishop’s Castle and on Friday evening, 17th May, had a final celebratory international musical evening at the 3 Tuns, Bishop’s Castle open to all.

Wkshp members

The Workshop was organised by Pathways: Inspirational Development CIC, a not-for-profit ‘Community Interest Company’ creating experiential educational activities designed to encourage personal and social development.

Pathways has, for over 20 years, organised many international partnership activities, most of which have been based in the Powys, S W Shropshire borderland.

Recent international projects have included work on Memorials, Heritage & Community Development.

Pathways: I.D.: Taking People Places

winding rd

Exploring then, now & beyond

The Green Line

Explored in Maytime

A record of the event


Kalenda maiai

ni fueills de faia

ni chans d’auzell

ni flors de glaiai

non es qe-m plaia,…

Neither May day, nor beech leaves, nor birdsong, nor gladioli, can please me…..

(Raimbaut de Vaquieras)

How ‘Green’ – how ‘Green’ the line?

Fecundity is essential

fetus: offspring

We gather and work together, what is produced – what ‘springs’ from the intimate effort?


The line begins ‘out-there’ drawn across Europe:

Sunday May 12th 2013

Journeys, arrivals: anticipation turning into reality,

……… and chances, opportunities

‘Adding value’ is the common-place phrase,

…. for some, sites in London and the Brum Bull featured.
betj Shrlck


brum bull

Then a gathering,  a first meal, hosts and guests together at the Boar’s meal

The ‘Green Line’ Workshop is a journey, an exploration, of the creation of  trails and activities grown through local and community action.

Three elements provided a route:

  • Urban trails
  • Rural trails
  • Internal (within a building) trails.

Three elements:




Close, distant, deep?

Comforting, fascinating, darker?

Warm, cold, hot (or frozen)?

Three elements explored actively in territory marked by hidden boundaries and many thresholds.

Monday May 13th

Who are we & Where are we? Introductions,  information packs, diaries for reflective writing & bag in which to collect the curiosities that always present themselves.

Ancients treading the Old Trails would expect no less.

They whispered in dark corners: all who explore need to mark their ways with care, lest they lose all sense of place and balance, become confused & wander aimlessly – straying far.

Journey sticks  –  the continuum for the week were begun.


Lunch  ‘packed’, carried to the start of an afternoon walk along a stretch of Offa’s Dyke National trail.

Lunch consumed, wind blown, sheltering against the banks of a prehistoric settlement, views displaying the grey prospect of distant North Wales.

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2008-10-30 16.47.14

2008-10-30 16.30.17


2008-10-30 16.31.10

Cold, windy & at times wet but a walk completed,  all gathering in the ancient churchyard of Mainstone Parish Church (the only parish church on the Saxon built Offa’s Dyke) Mianstone church

2008-10-30 18.25.22

Journey sticks – does a stick ‘take shape’? Are they collectively a sculpture?

Collecting and shaping, forming new patterns – is that pattern of our sticks, or our selves? The shapes and forms of others, long gone but present in stone memorials – are they filtering into the process?

Words, often all we have, are as slippery as eel’s tails, sticks are a more certain medium.

2008-10-30 18.26.41



2008-10-30 18.27.20

2008-10-30 18.28.56                                2008-10-30 18.28.27


2008-10-30 18.31.30

Above the churchyard the mysterious Cŵn Annwn, the hounds of the Wild Hunt, can be called across the valley. Wild Edric, fairy enchanted in his own time, may be heard in the breeze, riding, forever riding…

Tuesday May14th

Exploring Bishop’s Castle


BC downhill

Rain in May wipes your worries away

Take a dose, take off your cloths

Feel the soft warm spray of the rain in May (Max Wener)


Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;

Behind the clouds is the sun still shining; (Longfellow)

Where was the warmth? Where was the sun and promise of Spring?

Unite and unite and let us all unite
For summer is a-come unto day
And wither we are going, we will all unite
In the merry morning of May

Rather, it was in the dreary and wet evening, drawn in to the music and the dance

Music, so an Italian painter believed, is the shaping of the invisible

Anne L copy


This carol they began that hour,

With a hey, and a ho, and a hey hey-nonny-no,

How that a life was but a flower

In springtime, …

When birds do sing, Hey ding a ding, ding.

Tues sing

‘In the Spring Jeeves, a livelier iris gleams upon the burnished dove’

So I have been informed , Sir

 ‘Right ho! The bring me my whangee, my yellowest shoes and the old green Homburg. I’m going into the Park to do pastoral dances’

Martha Rhoden’s Tuppeny Dish

Rhoden circle

Rhod dance

Shropshire Bedlams

bedlams swing

and chaotic uniting finale

All dance

And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.  (Nietzsche)

Wednesday May 15th

The month of May was come,

when every lusty heart beginneth

to blossom, and to bring forth fruit;

for like as herbs and trees bring forth fruit and flourish in May,

(Thomas Malory)

Thus it was that snow fell during the night – foretold by some, astonishing to all and much talked about, often erroneously, by those who have spaces to fill in their broadsheets & other such repositories of gossip.

For some a portent of cosmic disturbance and if not so terrible maybe forewarning of a time when the chilling blasts from the Northern realms drive many insane.

A journey though, once begun in faith, continues in hope and sculptures of varied types were placed along snow covered ridges…. propitiatory?

Do these sticks now contain their own power drawn from those who shared the process?

snw stick sculp

snow sticks

They briefly join older monuments placed, as much as symbols of power, influence & national borders, as memorials to long dead, snow-frozen traders…

lone figure:snow:Cntlin

…and now provide a place in which to rejoice in this most unusual May-time.



    IMG_0803      IMG_0804



The hounds, news-hungry and having a need to provide entertainment for their masters, had ventured onto the hills…. and to their delight encountered the travellers, whom they instantly consumed.

‘I love being eaten’ was the response, the memory of it will stay with me for as long as my Facebook page remains.’ IMG_0813


Brynmawr – and the various travellers, stick-makers, soup servers, guides, farmers & assorted others transported thence, re-grouped & relived their recent adventures.


of joys, woes,

multi–headed mythical beasts wailing and howling over the snow-wastes of Yr Hen Ffordd  and the Clun Forest.


of distant mountains where deep underground dwell the Ancient Tribes of Britain, still mining gold but providing to no-one, rather storing, ready for a time only know to those with sense and knowledge of the Older Ways.

of the high table stronghold of Idris ap Gwyddno, Idris Gawr,  a 7th-century  brenin cymraeg, who defeated  the Irish on the mountain.

of Paradwys Cymru where in lush green pastures feed fattening cattle disturbed only by the swooping of Arthur’s ravens; ‘hell bent’ they say there, giving the term many meanings.

2007-07-21 14.15.26

2007-07-21 13.51.07  

BE review

The rural life is not for all, say sages & many swineherds…… Return to the warmth of a small protective town and to be served with food full of the spices of the Orient, is a thing much to be welcomed.

sml rsts

Thursday 16th May

Rise up the members of this house

Together come as we

For the summer springs so fresh and green and gay

We’ll sing you all a blossom

And a bud on every spring

Drawing near to the merry month of May

What journeys may be had in a building – a confining, restricting space? Where living is warm and joyous, buildings open easily to pillared  and shaded courtyards, breeze tended.

It is not so in Clun, quietest of towns, – yet, as elsewhere, there are places of space, light, high ceilings, ambulatories.

Places for public gatherings, once used to control thoughts, souls, politics, people – and in these temperate regions, possessed of strong cold draughts, useful to remind all of their dependence on those wielding greater psychic power.

Such places survive, standing renewed in gentle triumph facing across the river at the ruins of the place where others held power by force de main.

Places now where the ghosts of times long gone crave renewal through new energy, new ideas, new effort.

As the Stick Pilgrims (for such they were on this morning) passed through the lanes around the town, those with ears to hear, attended to the whispers in the wind and accepted their gratitude.

Clun approach fording? Clun wrning crssng the Clun


The Stick Pilgrims gathered their products together into one group sculpture

2007-07-22 11.45.23 2007-07-22 11.52.22 2007-07-22 11.51.59

2007-07-22 11.52.56   details


A procession, Art-Crafted Work created from the discoveries in Clun, to the fore, moved  to the Parish Church. The Stick-Pilgrims shambling behind.

Shambling, stated an elderly cleric of dubious character, is but a slight remove from devotional movement on the knees. A most efficacious action, held by the highest of the Angelic Host, to be greatly favoured by the divine powers.

All understood this as on Saturday, after the Workshop completed, the weather improved.

At the entrance the Church land – the ‘Lychgate’ through which we pass only once, began a physical green line – a thread which was followed into and through the Church.

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower   
Drives my green age

wrote the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.

This was the reflection, the pondering, the musing as procession was followed by presentation – of small personal gatherings, placed and shaping a labyrinth.

For what, asked the hidden voices, are such lines for, but to be followed – we are driven, we are bound, to follow them.

Where was anyone bound?

As many understand ‘bound’ is a mystical term, only known to the inner spirit…. though such words as ‘spirit’ seem now banished from a world always requiring observable ‘outcomes’.

‘Outcomes’ roared apostate angelic Lucifer as he was  hurld headlong flaming from th’ Ethereal Skie, ‘is a word I will make my own, second only to my favoured phrase Hell-th and Safety’.

The companions of his fall, woeful at their descent, agreed to form an overseeing ‘Executive’.

procession 1 lych gate proc.2

grn line chrchyd        feet grn line

2007-07-22 12.19.29 proc end Is a gentle, almost meditative process – of creating and walking the labyrinth, possible?

For some Stick Pilgrims the action, fully shambolic, hosted a sense of personal importance.  The journey, within a journey – sensitively walked and intensively experienced.

Items collected over 3 days created the labyrinth: its structure composed of names, places of origin & significant small discoveries made during the Workshop.

Made by all, for each and for all.

2007-07-22 12.31.35 constrcting lab ola prsents lefteris prsnts

Eka muses

anna & evi

The Group labyrinth: A unicursal (single), non-branching path, leading to a centre: to be travelled, by each, alone and in whatever way is considered appropriate – but all the while, respecting the corporate structure & thereby the efforts of ‘the other’.

DSC_0517 DSC_0520 DSC_0527

2007-07-22 12.47.41

2007-07-22 12.45.30

The labyrinth has boundaries – within which, in order to follow the course, all must confine themselves.

We are seemingly ‘bound’, held, by our own desire to follow the course.

But the observed journey does not reveal that which occurs within the traveller….. who knows what bridges are created and what lines are being crossed?

2007-07-22 12.44.02

radu reads

vanya waves


2007-07-22 13.03.27 centred Zehra

It was enough, said some, experience teaching that reflection produces images and images need attending to.

Movement however, is a part of journey & journey is a process of moving.

Leaving the labyrinth for local attention, the travel continued – a White Horse assisting, to Knighton, Trefyclo – Tref-y-Clawdd the linguistic purists, whips ever ready, insisted…. and to Offa, Great & Mighty King, dyke builder, protector of cattle.

Exercise of power, a minor Westminster official once shouted (in times well gone, when such speeches were normal), is but a game to those who control.

And so, with Offa and his Great Dyke… how else, these thousand years since, can we experience his intention?

Welsh, yes, ‘Welsh’, foreigners in their own land – as the Saxons stated:  Waelisc, required restrictions – especially after cattle raids. So Stick Pilgrims become Warriors, run as heroes for a moment, taking or saving the prize beast of the English lowlands.

The minor Westminster official also pronounced that in the game of ownership and control, cattle were but as the ‘balloons of fools’, to be fought over, or in peaceful times, traded, usually for small beer, rancid wine and old vegetables.



2007-07-22 15.37.28

2007-07-22 16.02.13


balloon to go





Resolving International disputes requires sensitivity and as history has taught, even from the time of rapacious Alexander, common celebrations.

For those on the Anglo-Welsh border tradition requires the consumption of traditional food in a neutral venue, usually, the street.


Street chips

The warriors, Sais a Cymraeg, were satisfied and fortified – an advisable state to achieve in Knighton:

as the poet, maybe dreaming of a visit from faraway, wrote:

lads knew trouble at Knighton
When I was a Knighton lad.

when Night Darkens the Streets, then wander forth the Sons
 of Belial, flown with insolence and wine.

Friday May 17th

This morning is the month of May,

the finest of the year.

Good people all, both great and small,

I wish you joyful cheer.

 I’ve brought you here a bunch of may, 

Before your door it stands…..

…… My song is done, I will be gone, 
I can no longer stay.

God bless you all, both great and small, 

And send a joyful May.

Listening, it was said in ancient Thebes, hurts no-one, though it causes many a pain.

Jwj Revw

Philip Dunne
But it is good to require those who claim to represent the people to stand and explain. Life is sustained not by dogma but by questions.

There are, old astrologers tell, three types of power, but the diviners of such hidden mysteries, when questioned closely, always fail to explain, drifting into quoting archaic texts known only to themselves.


Some types of power are maybe, simply obvious.

Photo Jul 11, 5 36 56 AM

The Green Line Journey completes, with a shape and a collection:

Journey sticks all turned to sculpture & images & scraps pasted into book form

Photo Jul 11, 5 43 43 AM

journey stick sculpture


Then for those, local and from afar, who shared the journey, the celebration – Mayor led.

May – a time of renewal – of making vows, of taking responsibility…
mayor Karen oath taking

… & sharing Moments.

mayor & grp

For the Stick-travellers, greener now than before, Rejoicings:


JWJ meal

Latvian singing

latvia sing


Men From Off (in part)

3 Off Men

Tunes, known to have transformed hardened hearts, played melodiously, causing the shades, hidden in the corners and under the stairs, to weep silently.

RB squeeze

Dancing to the exotic songs of the distant lands once of Osman

bahar sang:Zehra dance

Bulgarian Questions & Curiosities (with appropriate points and prizes)

bulgarian compttn

And curious wailings, groanings and complaints IB:RB



Before, fare-wells


and on the next morning: departures 


Goodbyes, farewells & returnings.

Linda:Uldis wave

Messages replace conversations and memories, events.

But the Journey Sticks, the shared effort of individuals, brought together at the end as One Sculpture, One Symbol for the Whole Week, still lives on – carefully placed in its own Special Place:

A Remembrance

2013-07-08 19.33.21

                                                   2013-07-08 19.33.50

2013-07-08 19.34.07



5 thoughts on “The ‘Green Line’ Workshop, May 2013

  1. Great work, thanks…

  2. Vanya Katsarska Aug 3, 2013 — 8:45 pm

    It was a thought-provoking workshop and this website reflects most of our precious moments. Thank you again for inviting me to become a part of this wonderful community.

  3. Also, to me these memories continue to live, they have a special place in my heart. Darling thank you all for everything!

  4. I wish everyone at least one time in their lives to be part of this workshop. “The Green lines”, the organizers and the local community changed thinking and make the world a better place. Thank you!

  5. Bahar Konak Özekinci Aug 27, 2013 — 1:02 pm

    You turned your ideas into actions…And when we saw your actions,new ideas got off the ground of our minds…Thank you for everything you’ve taught us..

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