Chalkstream Drawings, from Wiltshire to Norfolk

I was on holiday in North Norfolk last week with my family. While there I learned about the Red Chalk visible in the cliffs at Hunstanton, and the River Hun, a short chalkstream of only 6km that runs from Hunstanton to enter the sea at Holme, just along the coast.

Walking from Hunstanton, past Old Hunstanton towards Holme, I started to notice channels of fresh water cutting through the sand dunes as the Hun made its way along behind them and opened out into The Wash. Spending a few hours exploring the beach and swimming in the sea with my son and dog, I gathered together a few finds from the high tideline, including a massive old mussel shell and a holey whelk shell, to take home to Wiltshire.

Once home I decided to draw/paint them using the ink I’ve been making from plant material that I’ve collected near my own chalkstream, the Salisbury Avon (near its headwaters in the Vale of Pewsey). Having made Dock Seed, Ragwort Flower and Black Walnut ink recently, I collected acorns with my husband on our first walk back in Wiltshire, and used them to make a new dark grey ink, together with some rust from an old trough.

I enjoyed the sense of bringing the two chalkstreams together, through my noticing and my drawing, physical acts that reminded me of a map of chalkstreams in the UK shared by Tim Sykes, which shows a band of chalk spreading upwards from the South West to East Anglia and above (map included at end of post).

You can see another recent Queer River drawing made using homemade inks, in my previous post Walking with… Researcher Andy Marks.


Thanks to Tim Sykes for this map

Published by James Aldridge

Visual Artist and Consultant, working and playing with people and places. Based in Wiltshire, UK

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