Young visitors, old and new

Sep 5, 2016 | Neil Sinden

The summer has officially come to an end and its been raining heavily all day.  We made the most of the August sunshine including a picnic with some delightful young visitors and their families from a local estate.  St George’s Farm has also become home to a beautiful terra cotta sculpture of a young shepherd boy, whose creator has strong regional links.

During the school holidays, with the help of their community worker Charlotte, we hosted 15 children and 7 mums from Birchen Coppice Primary School, in nearby Kidderminster. They were driven to Ruskin Land in the school minibus by Gerald their premises manager for a walk and a picnic. What fun we all had!

The children took their fishing nets with all the grown ups down to Dowles Brook where only some of us fell in accidentally on purpose! On the way Caiden read all of the text on the Butterfly Walk information sign to his friends while Summer explained how much she loved nature.

Back at St Georges Farm we enjoyed our picnic kindly prepared by the local Soroptimists. After lunch everyone played games and made extraordinary clay creatures .

We then played ‘hide and seek’, perching on the fence to look at the cows grazing in St George’s orchard on our way to the wood pasture.  Everyone agreed they had a wonderful time and wanted to come back again, and again and again. These beautiful photographs taken by Charlotte tell the story of the day far better than any words!


We were also delighted to welcome another young visitor to Ruskin Land recently. Returning from a late summer tour of Kent we called in to see Annie Creswick Dawson at her home in Oxford.  Annie has generously donated an enchanting terra cotta sculpture of a shepherd boy complete with his attentive sheepdog and inquisitive sheep, though missing his arms! The sculpture is by Benjamin Creswick, Annie’s Great Grandfather, originally a Sheffield knife grinder whose talents were recognised and nurtured by John Ruskin.

With such patronage, Benjamin Creswick received many commissions and became a Professor at the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists.  His connections with Birmingham and where his carvings and friezes adorn many of the city’s finest buildings make the presence of his Shepherd Boy at Ruskin Land all the more appropriate.