Terry Howe’s conceptual, environmental art exhibition ‘Looking For Clues’ is at DSP from 15 August to 31 December 2020.
Terry’s exhibition outdoors and in the Sheds salon gallery is a playful yet insightful examination of the ‘found’ and ‘natural’ that surround us. A reminder of how small and fragile this planet is.
We asked Terry to describe his work in his own words.
I work with the spent, washed up and the discarded. The shoreline, car boot sales, skips and hedgerows are my main starting points for making.
From there I take off on imaginary space travel and what I keep finding are spheres. No matter how much you zoom in or out, spheres are there (atomic, sub atomic, planets, galaxies).
You may well think what a load of old balls but have a look yourself! I find a creative charge in giving the everyday a chance of a new life.
In this exhibition you will see multiples of pan scourers, freezer bags, oil cans, funnels, table tennis, snooker, and bowling balls.
Hedgerows produce imaginary archeology, prolific multiples of spikes and barbs (amazing systems of protection). I am mainly working with acorn cups, rose hip barbs, and blackthorns/hawthorns.
In the 1960’s (my childhood years) I was free to be out all day to play, explore and invent (tips, fires, dams, dens, scavenging, collecting, penknife whittling). All of this fired my imagination and it still does.
To pre-book a Day Visit or Guided Art Tour of DSP click here.
Rewilding could be the most holistic and natural solution to the climate crisis. Large national parks started the practice nearly thirty years ago in places like Yellowstone Park in America. Large scale projects are focused on wildlife conservation and reintroduction through natural, wild habitat regeneration.
Rewilding solves three key problems at once. It restores our soil so that it can become an effective carbon sink, it develops habitats which support our vital wildlife and it helps regenerate natural plant growth. Each are critical ingredients to saving the planet from the effects of global warming. If we get it right, our soil alone should be able to absorb the vast majority of emissions that we produce each year.
Rewilding is about creating the right balance of three essential habitats: woodland, open scrub and open grassland. Smaller-scale rewilding also involves the creation of a fourth, which is waterways. Larger-scale rewilding assumes that there will be natural waterways flowing through the land. With smaller-scale rewilding this often has to be created.
Up until recently rewilding has been the sole preserve of national parks and a few large farms. They have proven the model and provided some of the approaches for how to make conservation-based rewilding work. But it needed something else to deliver climate-fixing rewilding at scale.
Around fifteen years ago a Letts family project started playing with an idea which could end up cracking the code for scalable, mass market solutions to the climate crisis. It’s called smaller-scale rewilding.
Today it is an accepted practice and smaller-scale rewilding is classified as a rewilding project smaller than 250 acres. Over the last fifteen years the Letts Group have taken it a step further and defined a number of practical and distinct models for garden-scale rewilding through to 250 acre projects.
Smaller-scale rewilding is more involved, more technical and much more scalable. It is also more broadly focused on solving the climate crisis and not limited to certain objectives around conservation. Smaller-scale rewilders make green spaces that are effective carbon sinks and oases of low carbon energy and natural food production. Their spaces also accelerate natural plant growth in a more controlled environment while nurturing habitats for wildlife.
The Letts have for years been practising what it is now called ‘Wildlife Gardening’ – a trendy new gardening method for rewilding your garden. But they have also developed practical models for rewilding verges, allotments, commons, parks, smallholdings and corners of farms and estates. They have a new centre that is up and running in the southwest of England called DSP which you can visit to learn about the various models and methods.
If you tour the surrounding towns and countryside you can already see a number of the approaches developed and showcased at DSP appearing in the region. Clearly something is catching on. Indeed, DSP is regularly hosting and educating government and business leaders, environmental experts, gardening professionals, conservationists and land holders committed to a more regenerative form of farming. They have even established a private sculpture park solely focused on environmental art to extend their climate message.
If smaller-scale rewilding can become a wider movement for change then perhaps there is a glimmer of hope in the battle against climate change. After all, we estimate that there are over a billion gardens on this planet, more than 250 million smallholdings, and millions of smaller farms and parks. Imagine if all of them were at least part-rewilded.
Wildlife gardening is rewriting the book on how to garden, turning gardens into mini carbon sinks that support insects, birds and small mammals while advancing regenerative plant growth. Wildlife gardening practices zero watering techniques, zero chemical or pesticide approaches and zero use of petrol guzzling tools, making the new crop of electric tools truly du jour. All plants are left to seed and pruning techniques could not be more different. Wildlife gardens have lighting that is solar powered.
Rewilded gardens recreate small woodland with just a few trees, shrubs are carefully selected as proxies for scrub and wild grasses abound. Plants are generally chosen for their year round ability to support pollinators. And each plant is left to seed. At DSP you can see the team’s three-tier waterway approach which effortlessly links a pond to a bog garden and on to surface water over grasses which creates wetland. The insects and birds love it.
The Letts Group has shrink wrapped large-scale rewilding and repurposed it for the masses – making it effective and understandable for everyone. By following the practices and updates at DSP Online anyone can become a rewilding expert. No matter whether you have a small terrace garden, a roof garden, cottage garden or more.
The Letts constantly remind us that in your garden you are the herbivore and herbivores are vital to managing projects that are larger than a garden or smallholding. When you walk across the outer wildlands at DSP you understand why. The extraordinary selection of conservation grazers that are unique to smaller-scale rewilding help maintain and shape the habitats keeping scrub as scrub, woodlands as healthy woodlands (where you can practice silvopasture techniques) and open grassland free of endless weeds, scrub or tree shoots.
You can’t exactly reintroduce the bison, the wolf or a red deer into smaller-scale rewilding so at DSP you get to see what does work. The grazers are smaller and lighter with a reduced footprint, but no less wild and effective than their larger proxies. The Letts even help us mathematically understand how many of these conservation grazers can be hosted per acre.
A visit to DSP Online or in-park is a real eye opener and you are left with a profound sense of hope. We no longer need to wonder what we can do about the climate crisis. We don’t need to wait for the government or super-rich to act. Any of us can become a rewilding expert and planet saver. Greta Thunberg might soon be telling us about how she has rewilded her school yard. No pressure Greta!
Book one of DSP’s rewilding tours or get more in-depth at a rewilding workshop – click here.
This article first appeared in a newsletter from a Letts Group think tank called Surviving.
In keeping with the ethos of rewilding DSP has developed an innovative Wild Kitchen. Our two course summer lunch menu is freshly made each day. Simple light and delicious you’ll enjoy a choice of healthy, gluten free and vegan dishes.
Freshly Baked Focaccia
Rock Shrimp Roll
Preserved Lemon Chicken Skewers
Miso Aubergine Chirashi
Home Grown Leaves with Lemon Oil
Gluten Free Bakewell Tart
Enjoy a beautiful relaxed lunch while taking in Capability Brown’s extraordinary views from the terraces of the Robert Adam Orangery overlooking the sea and the Exe estuary. Enjoy the natural homemade dishes with farm fresh veg, meat or fish.
Pre-book a Day Visit, Tour, Workshop or Retreat and experience our two course lunch from the wild kitchen – click here.
Devon Sculpture Park is at Mamhead Park (South) which is a very private estate retreat on the outskirts of Exeter. Indeed, the first thing you see as you enter is a ‘private’ sign to remind us that we’ll be enjoying a relaxed, immersive and very private visit.
This historic estate harks back to the Domesday Book and ancient, distant times. The landscape has been restored and rewilded, whisking us back many centuries while bridging us to tomorrow with advanced natural climate approaches supported by the latest digital technology.
The family reside at the estate which gives any guest an instant feeling of home. Visits are warm and welcoming. The Letts’ have roots in Devon going back to the 13th century at the Shapcott estate, Knowstone. The family are private and deliberate, rarely inviting more than a handful of guests at a time.
Visits are requested online and by email each meticulously managed by the team and hosted with care. The integrity of this historical retreat, the natural habitats, wildlife and environmental art can only be fully protected in this very private of private settings. A place where social distancing is comfortably managed.
The family are often at the heart of things mingling with their various guests: artists, scientists, inventors, film makers, writers, photographers, healthcare professionals, environmentalists or environmental and art enthusiasts. Government, non profit and business leaders come here to learn about the various environmental projects and the teams perspectives on the future of environmental solutions, the arts and the publishing industry. The Letts’ have been high profile participants of the publishing industry for 250 years.
Mamhead Park (South) and the Letts Group are today innovating by finding and developing natural solutions to the climate crisis while supporting the environmental arts. Guests enjoy learning about smaller scale rewilding, regenerative estate management, carbon farming, wildlife habitats and wildlife gardening, natural plant regeneration, environmental art and culture and wild kitchen foods all mixed up in a Capability Brown setting with Robert Adam architecture.
The family and the team treat each guest with the same welcome and the same enthusiasm for the environment, the arts, health, politics and new media – no matter what brings them to this project or what kind of meeting they will be enjoying.
Guests are grateful for the hands on experience from the team in-park and online. Safety, health, education and mutual respect are practised by all.
Most guests communicate with and visit the park and the various projects online meaning that the in-park experience is private, intimate and unique. The vast majority enjoy this special place digitally, via DSP Online, as only a very few can meet and retreat here – combining the best in modern technology with living history and conservation.
Mamhead Park (South) and Devon Sculpture Park have restored and reimagined the term ‘salon’ whereby supporters of the arts have for centuries been hosting guests to view their private galleries and performances. It’s just that in this place the private gallery extends to the park. An oasis of magical tranquility and privacy layered with wild abandon and mystical moods. Guest after guest describe their time here as ‘fairytale’.
If you would like to request a visit or a meeting just go to the website or email us.
Summer has started. Lockdown is easing and DSP is carefully and cautiously reopening. Each visit is pre-booked online at the website, numbers are more limited than ever, social distancing is carefully practised and for now everything is 100% outdoors. We recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.
You could ask what’s new? We’ve been keeping numbers low with private, guided visits for a while – to protect our habitats, the wildlife and the integrity of this magical place as a historic retreat. DSP is both creative retreat and wildlife haven. But a number of things are new.
One of our new offerings is DSP’s 20% discount on Day Visits for NHS workers. One small way for us to thank you. But we wanted to go a little further so we’ve spent the last few months creating a new space – DSP’s memorial site for the victims of the pandemic. A place with a highly relevant sculpture from an important artist. A zen like space that allows us to reflect on how Coronavirus has affected us all. A little haven, by the Capability Brown lake, for us to rest for a while and remember. Remember the lives tragically lost, the workers putting themselves at risk for us all and the lessons to be learnt.
We’re lucky to have ‘Weight of the World’ by Teresa Wells MRSS as the centre piece. It was due to go to Hampton Court this summer but instead has come down to Devon to mark our new memorial site. We’re excited about how the site has come together. Come and experience it for yourself – CLICK TO BOOK DAY VISIT.
The exciting thing about rewilding is that every month you notice considerable changes to the landscape, wildlife and gardens. You don’t have to wait for the four traditional seasons – it’s as though rewilding unleashes nature on steroids – 12 months of the year. But summer is special. The wilded Capability Brown gardens are bursting, the herbivores and wildlife in the outer wildlands are relaxed and resting. This year’s newborns have become cheeky teenagers and the sheltered nature of the estate makes it a warm, relaxing and welcoming place to retreat for a day. CLICK TO BOOK REWILDING TOUR.
The environmental artists at DSP have been busy. They spend the winter and spring creating and the summer hanging out at DSP and installing new works. Lockdown has spurred many of them to become more productive than ever. And as a result the environmental art installations at DSP have kicked up a gear as well. There’s much to see – CLICK TO BOOK ENVIRONMENTAL ART TOUR.
From July we will offer our workshops and retreats again. Socially distanced, smaller numbers and mostly outdoors. Some are brand new and some of them are our regular favorites. They each educate and inspire us around rewilding, wildlife gardening, creativity and healthier living. CLICK TO PRE-BOOK WORKSHOP.
Companies can start to book retreats again. What better way to bring small teams together in such a dynamic setting – healthy, environmental, safe and uniquelly creative. The ideal complement to your homeworking model. CLICK TO PRE-BOOK COMPANY RETREAT.
We’ve also introduced an evening retreat. From July you can join us for our Friday evening retreat. A special retreat for couples, families or to spoil your clients. DSP’s Friday evening retreat starts with a sunset guided wildlife walk, followed by mocktails and appetisers on the terraces at the Robert Adam Orangery and dinner al fresco from the wild kitchen overlooking the sea. CLICK TO PRE-BOOK FRIDAY EVENING RETREAT.
We look forward to seeing you this summer. If for whatever reason you can’t join us in-park then you can subscribe to DSP Online to experience the many aspects of the park virtually: the rewilding, our climate solutions, the art, the experts, the artists and our celebrated architecture. Starting at just £3 per month. CLICK TO SUBSCRIBE TO DSP ONLINE.
Many of you ask us how you can get involved with Devon Sculpture Park (DSP) online or in-park. And we’ve noticed these requests growing since the UK announced the first phases of reopening post Covid-19 lockdown.
While the park plans to re-open on 5 June, there are a number of ways that you can get involved today whether you’re an environmentalist, artist, gardener, arts enthusiast, wildlife supporter, company or lover of things Devon.
You can visit us as often as you want at DSP Online or become a regular in-park visitor by joining DSP’s Annual Membership programme. DSP Online supporters and DSP Annual Members not only enjoy valuable discounts visiting the park but also get priority booking. All in-park visits require online booking well in advance and online payment. We operate a fully digital front office so we can carefully control numbers and movements while offering safe, contactless payments.
DSP Online has many more visitors than in-park. We try and spend as much time as possible recording and communicating our daily experiences and learnings at DSP Online – via narrated videos, photo-tips, articles, interviews, recipes from the wild kitchen, online Q&A’s and live-stream presentations. Visitors can also message the team direct with their questions. DSP Online was designed for anyone to visit the park as often as they want from just £3 per month – at home, in the office or on the move. It also serves our far flung supporters and those with accessibility issues. Given the discounts offered to DSP Online supporters, much of the monthly pledge can be paid for with special offers on visits to the park.
As an artist we recommend getting to know the park via DSP Online or a visit in-park as we are quite a different kind of art centre. If you are an art collector we will soon be launching the Robert Adam Gallery online so you can browse and purchase selected environmental art from your home. Art bought from DSP is truly environmental, not just because it comes from leading environmental artists with environmental practices, but because you can rest assured that proceeds go towards rewilding projects and environmental art programmes.
We have a growing number of experts and organisations wanting to partner with DSP. These include wildlife trusts, educational groups and arts institutions. Also art teachers, wellbeing practitioners and yoga and meditation experts wanting to set up practices at DSP or special one day retreats. If you would like to partner with DSP email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Coronavirus pandemic has made us all rethink our priorities and we thank you for wanting to get more involved with us in tackling climate change. We would also like to thank you for your patience through this process. We were early into locking down the park and will be cautious about re-opening. But your safety and that of the wildlife, plant life and team at DSP will always come first.
Devon Sculpture Park was established to tackle climate change – as a rewilding park for environmental art. We have worked hard to become the UK’s leading smaller scale rewilding project and environmental art centre. This also means we have plenty of experience with healthier living – diet, wellbeing, eco-habits, eco-arts, exercise, nature, wildlife, green spaces and carbon sequestration. All vital to understand and celebrate as we go forwards.
We created the park as a place that could be equally enjoyed online as in-park. Indeed, we had to as numbers have always been very limited in-park so as not to disturb the wildlife or damage the unique habitats and to keep our carbon footprint to a minimum. The in-park experience is intimate – private, immersive and relaxing. Always guided by experts. Your very own wildlife haven and creative retreat. The online experience is equally enthralling. We hope you can join us today at DSP Online.
At DSP, it seems a day does not go by without people asking us what they can do to help with the climate change crisis. During the Covid-19 lockdown these requests have become more of a stampede. The most common question we get asked is ‘what simple steps can I take to do my bit to reduce global warming and help nurse the planet back to health?’ It got us thinking.
Given that DSP is ALL about highlighting and tackling climate change and we have had the privilege to meet and work with so many experts in and around the environmental, wildlife, wellbeing, environmental art and healthier living spaces we thought we should try and come up with a simple little 10 step plan. A plan that if enough people followed it could make a considerable combined difference to reducing global warming.
The good news is that if enough of us follow, as much as we can, this simple 10 step plan WE CAN help reverse global warming while improving our lives, our health and wellbeing, the wildlife and this planet – but most importantly we, the human race, might also get to survive!
We have tried to keep this 10 step plan as simple and achievable as possible. Each step is backed by science and each one has been selected to make the biggest difference possible to reducing global warming. None of these steps is too hard for any of us to do. Over the coming weeks and months we will be writing more in depth about each of the 10 steps at DSP Online so that we can better understand why they are so critical and how, specifically, we can make them happen. We will also try to highlight some of the companies and government organisations that are leading the way on climate change solutions.
We have adopted the 10 steps and they work. We have also created a centre of excellence for climate change and climate solutions, environmental art and healthier living on the outskirts of Exeter in the UK’s southwest. Visit us at Devon Sculpture Park when lockdown is over or join us today at DSP Online.
Here’s our ’10 Step Plan for Solving the Climate Change Crisis’:
1. Eliminate waste – eliminate all unnecessary waste with the ultimate goal being zero waste. It includes food waste, plastics and energy waste. Shop locally and try to shop at stores that allow you to pack your own food so you take as little single use plastic as possible home with you. This also means shopping more diligently and frugally, eating everything you buy and getting better at freezing, composting wasted food, recycling metals, clothing and other materials and doing everything you can to remove household energy waste including heavier curtains over windows, all LED lighting and improved insulation.
2. Shift to more of a plant based diet – move to a plant based diet and at a minimum try to become a flexitarian eating meat only in the evening at dinner. Make your own little kitchen garden, indoors or outdoors, so that you can eat your home produced fruit, vegetables and herbs. It’s cheaper, more fun, it’s convenient and reduces your travel emission footprint. As much as possible try to buy locally sourced food and pasture fed livestock.
3. Use renewable energy – switch to renewable energy sources including electric, solar, wind and possibly biomass boilers. In the short term transition to electric heating, water and cookers plus outdoor solar lights then start looking into solar panels or roof tiles and mini-wind turbines for your garden. The UK electric grid has made strong progress shifting to predominantly renewable energy sources and away from fossil fuels – particularly coal so electric energy from the grid in the UK is cleaner than most fossil fuel heating systems.
4. Shop differently – how we shop and what we shop for dictates how products and services are designed. By shopping differently we dictate whether manufacturers and service providers adapt their offerings to become more environmentally friendly. So insist on eco-friendly products and services whether it’s eco-friendly clothes, shoes, food (whether in shops or restaurants), contractors and repair services. There are already plenty of them. For example insist on a gardening service that uses rewilding gardening techniques and electric gardening tools.
5. Rewilding your garden – rewild your garden, terrace, courtyard, verges and more. Lobby your school, neighbours, churchyard, office green spaces, commons and local parks to rewild their green spaces. Learn about wildlife gardening techniques. Rewilding is the most holistic method to make your soil an effective carbon sink, to restore habitats for wildlife and to nurture natural, diverse plant growth.
6. Change your approach to travel and transport – try and travel less after lockdown. Do you really need to shop by car for food or other essentials more than once a week. Try to walk or cycle to the local shops, to work or school. Home work as much as you can while insisting on virtual meetings wherever possible. When you change your car buy an electric vehicle or an electric hybrid at a minimum. Try to reduce flying for leisure to just one flight a year and holiday locally and whenever possible at eco-resorts.
7. Elect environmentally responsible politicians – choose politicians and leaders in general that make solving the climate crisis their number one priority. There is no longer any excuse for any government, business or farm not having a clear, deliverable net zero carbon plan to be achieved by 2030. Hitting zero carbon by 2040 could be too late. At DSP we are currently developing a 10 step climate change plan for businesses.
8. Be more frugal and balanced in your life – consume less, exercise more, spend time in nature, read more, spend more quality time with family, friends and in your local community. Make things that are eco-friendly whether it’s DIY, hobbies, projects, community initiatives or the arts. Support environmental art and artists.
9. Work for environmentally friendly companies – you get to choose who you work for so choose companies that have clear, achievable net zero carbon plans and that let you work from home unless you’re in walking or cycling distance of the office. Push them to provide more environmentally friendly products and services, workplaces, warehousing and supply chains. Get them to rewild any of their green spaces.
10. Stay healthy and adapt your lifestyle – with Coronavirus lockdown we have had a unique opportunity to change the way we live and work. We have already been forced to do a number of of the things required to reduce global warming and to solve the climate crisis. We have seen a sizable reduction in global emissions. So just keep doing much of what you’re doing but in a more sustainable way. And if you go beyond this and become a more rounded pro-environment citizen you will not only do your bit to save the planet but you will also develop skills and experiences that could qualify you for the next big global industry – the climate solution industry.
At DSP we help individuals and organisations to become more climate friendly and adopt healthier living approaches. We offer a cost effective online app, DSP Online, to help you better understand how to become environmentally conscious with simple actionable techniques gleaned from the day to day activities and learnings at DSP’s center of excellence in the UK southwest. Sign up to DSP Online today – CLICK HERE.
This week we all get to celebrate Earth Day and figure out how in the world we do something about the climate crisis given the Coronavirus lockdowns. But, you see, Earth Day could not be more relevant given the Covid-19 pandemic. Because, if we do not act very soon to reverse the effects of global warming, we could well recover from the Coronavirus public health crisis only to step into an even bigger one with the climate crisis.
Given that DSP, as a rewilding park for environmental art, is all about doing something about climate change we thought we would share our 5 pledges for Earth Day.
Pledge 1: To become a place that not only focuses on the environment – environmental art and natural solutions to the climate crisis – but also becomes better at making the link to healthier living including less waste, healthy eating and healthcare. Also, to develop art installations and projects that highlight health issues, including Covid-19, and health workers and care heros.
Pledge 2: To accelerate the development of our wild kitchen gardens so that they provide an increasing proportion of the food sourced for DSP and for local communities.
Pledge 3: To push ourselves to produce ever more digital content about our daily activities and insights at DSP so that we can educate audiences more widely about climate issues and practical, mass audience solutions to the climate crisis (see DSP Online).
Pledge 4: To use our rewilding project to accelerate plantlife growth beyond our walls by making our seeds, plants and tools for wildlife gardening more widely available.
Pledge 5: To help DSP’s inspiring collection of environmental artists and sculptors to become more widely known and more influential in the environmental world as well as the art world. To help us to better understand their art and how it helps to communicate and challenge us on climate issues. To educate and inform wider communities of artists about sustainable and environmentally sound practices and approaches.
We’re excited to launch DSP Online, our new virtual visitor app. Starting at just £3 per month you can enjoy going behind the scenes at Devon Sculpture Park from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Bring our wildlife haven and creative retreat into your life and your home. Learn about smaller-scale rewilding and environmental art. Support a project doing something about climate change. Check out DSP Online today – CLICK HERE.
Rewilding provides a daily stream of changes to nature, our learnings and insights. DSP’s landscape, vistas, habitats, gardens, wildlife, environmental art and artists are special. You asked us for a way to tap into this as though you were a daily visitor – to experience what our team on the ground experience day in day out. So we’ve equipped and trained the team to record digitally while they go about their daily business.
We’ve worked hard over the last few months to launch DSP Online for the elderly, students, families and those with accessibility issues plus our growing number of supporters from across the UK and abroad. We also wanted to create an app for visitors to our ‘physical’ park who want to continue their education and journey with us. With Coronavirus lockdowns becoming more widespread we decided to accelerate our plans.
DSP Online is a rich multimedia virtual visitor app sharing photo-tips, narrated video, articles, recipes from the wild kitchen, audio, online Q&A’s, live-stream chats and interviews. Contributions come from DSP’s team, our experts, specialists, artists and more. Each tier offers you deeper insights, more impactful support and greater interaction.
If you want to help us in our fight against climate change, support DSP Online–CLICK HERE.