Special Events and Activities
For booking information:
Telephone: 01793 979224 or 07768 917466
Email: info@richardjefferies.org

Please note: this listing outlines the one-off events and activities we have throughout the year, up to April 2018. But the list is always growing, so do come back now and again to see what's new. 
July 2017
Poetry Film Workshop Sat 22nd 10:00 to 17:00
If you are interested in developing poetry with film techniques or a filmmaker

involved with poetry, this workshop is for you. Presented by Chaucer Cameron
and Helen Dewbery.
£35 per person.

Shadow Puppets Sun 23rd 13:30 to 17:00
Be inspired by Jefferies’ Wood Magic - create animal shadow puppets, then bring them to life in our Victorianesque stage.

Art of Jefferies Sat 29th 13:30 to 15:30
Artists Sue Bardwell and Sally Taylor lead this fun and creative event for children, sharing their month-long project inspired by Jefferies, and helping the children to respond to the man too.

Stone Carving Course Sat 29th & Sun 30th 10:00 to 16:00
Suitable for absolute beginners, this two-day course is run by professional stonemasons Maya Martin and David Wilkins, who will teach and guide you through the whole process of carving a Green Man face out of a solid block of stone. Plus, if you're not sure about the whole course, come and have a little go on Sunday afternoon, and maye think about joining a future course.
£150 per person.

Programme Launch & Ed Hanfrey and the Bellflowers Sun 30th 13:30 to 17:00
Culture & Cream Teas - The Mayor of Swindon will be on site to help us launch our new programme which includes thsi year's Poetry Festival Swindon. Then, fcontemporary folk trio Ed Hanfrey, Claire Amor and Jessie Thompson, armed with acoustic guitar, accordion, and tambourine, will get your feet tapping. And, in honour of Joanne Hirsch's Hilarious Hat Challenge, wWe shall also be holding a Mad Hatter’s Cream Tea Party (free for children), in support of Sail-for-Cancer.

​GALLERY: A Natural Dialogue July 1st to 30th
Sue Bardwell and Sally Taylor present an exhibition of original mixed artworks responding to the work and former home of Swindon’s celebrated nature writer Richard Jefferies.
August 2017
The Astral Ponies Sun 6th 13:30 to 17:00
Culture & Cream Teas - Come and enjoy your cream tea while listening to some groovy acoustic guitar and piano playing from incredible musicians Dave Corrigan & Jon Buckett.

Family Talent Show Sun 13th 13:30 to 17:00
Culture & Cream Teas - This is one for all the family. All you need to do is bring along you and your talent, whatever it is! Put yourself on the stage with a song, a dance, a joke, or a poem, in our fabulous talent show where everyone is cheered and everyone wins a prize.

Swindon Cycling Orienteering Sun 20th 11:00 to 16:00
A great chance to enjoy some fresh air and exercise with the family this summer. Choose between 1, 2, or 3 hour rides (must be finished by 4pm). Collect orienteering points along the way and hand your points cards in the checkpoint when you finish – prizes awarded for the three highest scores in each time category.

Jim Blair of HipRoute Sun 20th 13:30 to 17:00
Culture & Cream Teas - Listen to original, rootsy, country blues music, and marvel at Jim’s dexterity on the lap slide guitar and the incredible sounds that emerge.

GALLERY: A Reflection on my Existence Aug 4th – 31th
Rosie Tozer gives us a glimpse into the symmetrical depths of nature-based reality, with her astonishing and mesmerising photographs and images.
Preview on Friday 4th August 19:00 to 21:00

September 2017
Handlebard Shakespeare Sun 3rd 13:30 to 17:00
Culture & Cream Teas - Join the Handlebards all-female troupe for a bicycle-powered production of Shakespeare’s ‘As You like It’ like no other! Expect riotous energy, chaos and a great deal of laughter.

Composting for Beginners Sat 16th 13:30 to 15:30
Learn all about the dark arts of composting from gardener Laura Holmes, and turn your natural waste into natural fertiliser.
£12 per person.

Steam Farm Sat 16th & Sun 17th 13:30 to 17:00
Come and join mighty steam engines giving a taste of early agricultural technology, threshing the hay. Plus hands-on activities, children’s crafts and cream teas.

New Museum and Art Gallery Sun 24th 13:30 to 17:00
As part of the ‘Back the Bid’ project for a new museum and art gallery for Swindon, the current museum team will be talking about the vision and showing the architect’s spectacular model.

GALLERY: Open Studios Weekends 9/10th and 16/17th
As part of Swindon Open Studio, French-born artist Benoit Philippe exhibits his impressionist oil, watercolour and pastel paintings, inspired by his travels.

October 2017
End of Summer Party Sun 1st 13:30 to 17:00
Culture & Cream Teas - Celebrate the end of summer with a last cream tea, a bit of music and fun, and a fantastic themed mosaic-making session with artist Lynette Thomas of Artkore Mosaics.

Swindon's annual poetry festival kicks off again, with poets-in-residence,
Daljit Nagra and Tanya Herschman, plus the huge Tent-Palace of the Decilcious Air.
For full details, see here.

Jefferies Jaunt 
Sat 14th 9:15
Come and run, walk or jog a 5km course at Coate Water. There's a medal for all entrants, and you might win a trophy, no matter what speed you do - everyone will estimate their time before we set off, then first three to get closest to their estimate are the winners - simple! No watches though, please. We shall also be selling cakes - lots of cakes!
£4 per entrant (free for under 5s) 

Apple Day Sat 14th & Sun 15th 13:30 to 17:00
Join us for this resurrection of an old Swindon and Wiltshire tradition, with vintage machinery crushing, mashing and pressing local apples in the first stage of the traditional cider making process. Plus Children's Disco in the Tent-Palace of the Delicious Air - on Saturday afternoon.

Book Launch Sat 14th 19:30 til late
Come and join us to celebrate the launch of The God Baby by Hilda Sheehan,

published by Dancing Girl Press, Chicago.

H​alloween Sat 28th 16:30 to 18:30
Hot chocolate and stories around the fire. Of course, being Halloween, the stories have to be about ghosts and ghouls, but we promise they won’t be too frightening for younger ears.
£5 per family.

Try Orienteering Sun 22nd 10:30 to 12:30
Come and try a mini-maze in the museum garden followed by an orienteering trail in Coate Water Park. Families and individuals are most welcome whether or not you have been orienteering before.
Come and start any time between 10:30 and 11:30. Depending upon your choice of trail, you will take between one and two hours.
Mulberry Cafe open for soup, cakes and refreshments.

GALLERY: Poetry Special Oct 2nd to 29th
To coincide with our poetry festival, an exhibition of art by David Webb, inspired by the poet Edward Thomas, who was killed during WW1 one hundred years ago. Thomas was a Jefferies fan, and penned a biography of him in 1909. The pictures are accompanied by related poems by local poets.

November 2017
Jefferies Annual Lecture Sat 4th 13:30 to 17:00
Following the AGM of the Richard Jefferies Society, Simon Coleman will be giving a talk at Liddington Village Hall.

GALLERY: Under The Mulberry Tree Nov 3rd – 30th
In a unique perspective on the museum, Dee Levy gives us recollections and memorabilia of life when her family lived in the building during the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
Preview on Friday 3rd November 19:00 to 21:00

December 2017
Festive Fizz  Fri 8th  19:00–21:00
Prosecco, Cava, Champagne, English Sparkling Wine – do you have a favourite? At our Festive Fizz event, we'll conduct a blind tasting of different styles to help you compare, contrast and decide upon your top sparkling tipple in time for the festive season. With 6 top wines included, as well as some cheese and nibbles, and fun and games, deciding which corks to pop at Christmas and New Year should become all become a little bit clearer.
£25 per person (£20 Early bird)

Santa Train Ride Sun 17th 13:30 to 17:00
Enjoy a scarf-wrapped train ride to meet Santa in our Victorian Christmas living room, with hot chocolate & mince pies.
£5 per person.

GALLERY: Christmas Arts & Crafts Market Saturdays 2nd, 9th and 15th10:00 to 16:00
A beautifully appealing, reasonably priced array of items for sale, all produced by local artists, crafts-people and artisans. You can also visit the fair during the week - please contact us to arrange. 

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Book space
January 2018
Writing Books for Young People Sat 13th 10:00 to 13:00
Elen Caldecott, author of the Marsh Road Mysteries, leads us through the basics

of writing a good story for children, then builds on that with exercises to keep
the momentum going.

​GALLERY: Dreams and their Meanings Jan 1st – 31st
A collaborative exhibition exploring the symbols and meanings of the subconscious mind.
Preview: Friday 5th January 19:00 to 21:00

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February 2018
Character from all Angles Sat 17th 14:00 to 17:00
Workshop with Richard Skinner, author and Director of the Fiction Programme

at Faber Academy, designed to help writers of any level turn their characters
into living, breathing citizens.

GALLERY: Stone Age Meets Digital Age Feb 2nd to 28th
A rare exhibition of New Age artwork, decorative digital collage art, music and a poetry book, ‘The Troll and the Fairy’ from one of Swindon’s shyest creatives - Willo the Wisps.
Preview Friday 2nd February 19:00 to 21:00

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March 2018
One thing leads to another Sat 10th 14:00 to 17:00
An afternoon with Jasper Fforde, author of The Last Dragonslayer series - from

which Sky TV’s Christmas blockbuster was developed - as well as ten novels for
adults. Explore the processes, and the difficulties, of creating a children’s book
series that works for publishers and film-makers as well as young readers.

Make Your Own Plant Pyramid Sat 17th 14:00 to 17:00
Using willow cut freshly from the gardens, this workshop will lead you through the creation of a beautiful woven basket with uprights to support your chosen flower or vegetable.

Your Words From Another’s Image Sun 18th 10:00 to 16:00
Ekphrasis: the use of visual art objects to stimulate poems. Poet, blogger and

tutor, Martyn Crucefix, will introduce ways to do this – starting at Swindon
Museum & Art Gallery.

GALLERY: Kate Tryon March 2nd – 31st
A special exhibition of oil paintings of “Jefferies’ land” by 19th century American artist, Kate Tryon, alongside contemporary photographs by Ian Hampson showing the same scenes today.
Preview - Friday 2nd March 19:00 to 21:00

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April 2018
Jefferies & WilliamsSat 7th 14:00 to 17:00
The annual joint meeting, with readings & talks, of the Richard Jefferies Society and the Friends of Alfred Williams.

Easter Magic Monday Mon 9th 13:00 to 15:00 (free play to 17:00)
An afternoon playing in the gardens, planting flowers and vegetables, chasing eggs, making rabbits, and arts & crafts.
£5 per family.

Every date tells a story Sat 21st 14:00 to 16:00
Dates have significance, resonance. A birthday, an achievement, separation, loss.

Where were you when...? In this workshop, Bob Walton will help us cut some
dates open, and examine them inside and out.