The Harvest Walk & Talk on 27th September 2015 marked the ‘turning of the year’ on Gower celebrating the traditional seasonal festival of Harvest and a significant local landmark and Neolithic burial chamber – Arthur’s Stone.
The Harvest Walk & Talk marked the ‘turning of the year’ on Gower celebrating the traditional seasonal festival of Harvest and a significant local landmark and Neolithic burial chamber – Arthur’s Stone. The event was also an opportunity to examine our modern relationship to food, and being with the more introspective energies of ‘dying back’ and entering the darker days of the Winter months.
This event marked the second part of a three-phase, ‘Marking the Past, Making the Future Project’, on the themes of war, peace & sustainability. At the heart of each of the three separate but related events was a conscious emphasis on ‘peace-making’ – building connections to one another, promoting dialogue and a sense of our shared endeavour as well as an acknowledgement of our differing backgrounds or views. All three events in the series in some way looked back at the history or traditions of Gower in order to look forward to build a sustainable, resilient and peaceful future.
The Harvest Walk & Talk was a full day of activities marking the ‘turning of the year’ and the Harvest Festival on Gower. There was also an opportunity for people to highlight and hear from the many local change-making projects in Gower and Swansea, especially related to food-growing, connection to the land and active citizenship.
Artists were involved in making the day a success including singers Kate Davies from Gower and Kajsa Norrby from Sweden singing a traditional Swedish song of gathering in the harvest. Ian Rees scholar and teacher from the Annwn Foundation gave a talk on the Bardic traditions of Wales, connection to the land and the necessity of ‘dying back’ and ‘going inside’ to a quieter more reflective space, mirroring the coming of the darker nights and Winter months.
The day began with a welcome to and background of Stouthall Country Mansion, venue for the event at the heart of Gower on the outskirts of Reynoldston. Stouthall is one of the few historical country houses of Gower still standing and open to the public.
As the sun climbed higher in the sky, fifty walkers left to journey to Arthur’s Stone (Maen Ceti), Neolithic burial tomb on Gower. The group were invited to hold silence whilst walking and walk with an individual intention or affirmation placed in their shoe to deepen their experience of the activity. On arrival at Arthurs Stone we held silence, spoke about the significance of Harvest Time, gave thanks to the land and the cycles of nature and shared a traditional Gower folk story which included an invitation to circle the stone three times, affirming an intention. After a picnic lunch, we returned to Stouthall for refreshments, Ian Rees’ talk, a harvest supper made from locally surced ingredients and a session involving hearing from local change-making projects.
People came from a wide geographical spread of postcodes throughout Swansea and from further afield including Cardiff, mid Wales and Bridgend. Liaison with a Communities First Officer took place and participants resulted in the inclusion of individuals reached through this process who might otherwise not have been able to attend.