Woodland is a system in which people historically integrated with their environment, maintaining and gaining substance and sustenance from the relationship. Today, we are looking again to discover this connection with a more natural environment. How do we reintegrate? How can we rebuild a relationship with the woodland?

Bexhill Highwoods is a designated SSSI (Site of Specific Scientific Interest) in respect of specific species and the biodiversity of the habitat. It achieved and maintains this status due to the people of Bexhill, in particular, the volunteers and members of the Highwoods Preservation Society.

The Highwoods Volunteers work to maintain access to the woods by clearing and maintaining the marked pathways through the woods, extending and maintaining the car park and disabled access. They work to maintain the biodiversity of the woodland. They control invasive species such as rhododendron, clear the bracken and provide information and talks for visitors to the wood.

Artist in Residence

I am a volunteer in Bexhill Highwoods which gives me a participant perspective on the working of the woods and the Society. My involvement in the woodland as Artist in Residence speaks of broader systems interests. I am looking at the complexity of systems and how investigating this complexity promotes an understanding of change. I look at how making adjustments to one element of the system impacts the wider system. While maintaining access for local people is a goal, careful management is needed to ameliorate the negative impact numbers of people can have on biodiversity which is central to the woods SSSI status and its existence as a charity that maintains access.

Find out more about this project on https://cliffcrawfordart.co.uk/highwoods-artist-in-residence/