School tapestry project a big hit with 2,000 festival-goers


SOME 2,000 people – double the estimated number – flocked to the Railway Land Local Nature Reserve in Lewes for Saturday’s festival and party.

Fine weather blessed the celebration of 25 years of establishing the site as a community open space. The event got off to a flying start with the unveiling of six large hexagonal patchwork tapestries depicting the wildlife of the area.

More than 200 children from seven local schools have been working together since October to create the unique work of art.

The tapestries are made up of 300 textile squares representing the many different species of plant, animal and insect found on nature reserve.

Sponsored by the Railway Land Wildlife Trust and led by Priory School’s Anne Middlemass, the project broke all expectations through the involvement of Firle Primary School, Iford and Kingston Primary School, Rodmell Primary School and Priory School, St Pancras Catholic Primary School, South Malling Primary School and Southover Primary School.

Also there to be admired was the compass mosaic designed by Maia Eden.

Festival attractions included performers, workshops, food stalls, a beer tent and live acoustic music celebrating sustainability in its many different forms.

The visioning exercise looking 25 years ahead attracted interest, as did the puppet show on the Life of a Tree.

Dr John Parry, Director of the Railway Land Project, said: “It really was an event for all ages. We wanted to give something back to the town and I am delighted that this free festival seemed to catch people’s imagination – there were lots of happy faces and I think, for many of us, it was a perfect way to start the long bank holiday weekend.”