Botley West Solar FarmEynsham HeritageEynsham Venue HireEynsham Image Archive

Eynsham Art Window expands!

One window closes and another opens as Alison Holmans former creator and Manager of the Eynsham Art Window continues to support Eynsham artists and the West Oxfordshire Villages and countryside by supporting the Forever Fields Art Project.

Forever Fields 2023 is creating an Art Archive of 3,400 acres of threatened Oxfordshire countryside.

Open to all adults and children, individuals and groups. No previous artistic experience necessary, we want YOUR creative response to our local landscape - Begbroke, Bladon, Botley, Cassington, Church Hanborough, Cumnor, Eynsham, Farmoor, Freeland, Glympton, Long Hanborough, Tackley, Woodstock, Wootton, Yarnton.

Alison explains: ‘As soon as I heard about this project, I was excited to get in touch with my artist friends. Julia Loken, Eric White and Alice Walker, as well as Jane Tomlinson, formerly from Eynsham and now living close by in Freeland’

- All passionately paint, draw and talk about the natural world. As they paint, their awareness of the flora and fauna, co-existing is ever present. They all recognise themselves as guardians on this earth and that the changes they make has impact on all life. They all see their art as a record of a moment in time, for present generations to see and relate to and future generations to see what it was like. The pleasing outcome is when life has changed with natural growth and one can delight in the power of nature. The distressing outcome is when the scene of the painting no longer exists or can ever exist again.

Julia Loken and Alice Walker paint wild flower meadows. Julia’s of ‘Long Mead Meadow’, a natural flood plain in the fields up stream of Eynsham Toll bridge. This is a very rare and valuable site, 1500 years unchanged. Managed for hay it harbours wild and rare wildflowers and complex ecosystems, that are part of ongoing studies, monitoring their sustainability. It is just criminal, that along with other productive pastures nearby Long Mead has been designated to be dug up to lay connecting cables for the solar farm. Any digging will cause irreversible damage.

Long Mead Meadow

Alice Walker paints the wharf stream water meadow on the other side of the road from Long Mead. Its plant diversity is clearly present in its flora and fauna and wildlife, including otter. This is also designated to be dug to carry cables. The disturbance will be another tragic loss.

Wharf Streat Meadow

Forever Fields 2023

Eric White here paints land of ploughed fields and pastures from his view point to the horizon. The walk is a favourite and he has painted it before when the seasons’ change. Each season gives way to new life and changes in the landscape The land is productive providing food that is locally grown and sustainable. The wildness of the footpaths, benefit the crops growing in the fields and provide food for the insects, birds and mammals. Imagine this very land superimposed with solar panels, that will suppress the new growth and ecosystems through the seasons, leaving the land beneath the panels starved and barren.

View across ForeverFields from Eynsham

Jane Tomlinson worships the diversity and productivity of the land as our ancestors did. Entitled ‘The Green Man brings Spring to Chapel Meadow’ Every year as winter wanes, Spring brings new life and nature visits and passes through her garden. From the bees and insects that pollinate her flowers to the bird life that nest and feed from her garden to the mammals that visit her pond for a drink. The Green man and the fairies maybe fictional yet they highlight that nature needs these seasonal markers, space and diversity. The wildlife thrive, when they can move safely from one diverse food source and shelter to another. Remove the vegetation and you take away the opportunities for diverse plant and animal life.

The Green Man Brings Spring © Jane Tomlinson, 2023

The expected life span of the solar panels is 40 years after which it is said they will be removed. The expectation is that the land will then be restored to how it was. In 40 years’ time those who are children today will then be adults with families of their own. In 2060 there will only be a few who have a memory of what the land was like and they will be elderly. In 2060 those who are making the decisions today to erect the solar panels will no longer be here to take responsibility to put it all back as it was. Is this the problem we want to leave our children with, because we didn’t think it through?

As one of the solutions to the energy crisis, Solar Power can be viable and sustainable. It can be placed, on the roofs of houses and the roofs of industrial sites. The outlay of money that has gone toward land purchase, the installation of the panels and cables and ongoing maintenance could be used towards subsidies that will get them on roofs.

As one of the solutions to the climate crisis, we should promote the original use of solar (the Sun), ‘to work naturally’. We must encourage a diversity of plants that harness the sun’s energy through photosynthesis. They will in turn, put nutrients back into the soil, take in the carbon dioxide and give off life giving oxygen. By allowing interactive ecosystems of flora and fauna to work productively together we are putting value and richness back into the environment. The maintenance of green spaces will not only benefit the natural world, but our own wellbeing — physical, psychological and spiritual — too.

Botley West Solar FarmEynsham HeritageEynsham Venue HireEynsham Image Archive