Wessex Archaeology has embarked on an exciting new collaboration with the Salisbury River Park scheme to include the local community in a project which will secure a sustainable future for the city.

Salisbury River Park is an Environment Agency project in partnership with Wiltshire Council, Swindon & Wiltshire LEP and Salisbury County Council, and aims to create a lasting legacy of riverside green space and urban wildlife habitat for the people of Salisbury and its visitors to enjoy. Salisbury River Park will also improve the city’s open spaces and environment by generating people-friendly streets with pedestrian and cycle infrastructure

Visual Arts Projects with James Aldridge

Mapping different perspectives around the Salisbury River Park landscape. Image credit James Aldridge

Wessex Archaeology’s Heritage Inclusion specialists will be working alongside local artist James Aldridge to tell the story of Salisbury’s relationship with the River Avon over time, through people, place, and purpose. ‘The Ripple Effect’ project is designed to improve people’s wellbeing through positive engagement with the local environment, the community and each other. With the launch of ‘The Ripple Effect’ the Salisbury River Park project will be able to engage people across all generations through walks, workshops, creative moments and shared experiences.

In addition to the directly human dimension, our experts will help bring these workshops to the next level by shedding light on what archaeology can tell us about the ecology and environment of the Salisbury River Park area in the past, and how the biodiversity improvements the scheme will deliver help to re-establish aspects of these past ecosystems and ensure the city’s wildlife population continues to thrive in future.

Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury City Cathedral as viewed from the banks of the River Avon. Image credit James Aldridge

The River Avon is a designated Special Area of Conservation with the highest level of international nature protection, supporting protected species and habitats. Its Salisbury floodplain provides an incredibly rich intersection of culture and nature which makes it so ideal for development and delivery of the wellbeing-focused projects which we specialise in here at Wessex Archaeology.

Our collaboration with James Aldridge will provide a unique offer by combining interests in wildlife, sustainability, cycling, walking, arts, and educational projects.

River Avon sign

River Avon at the heart of Salisbury City communities throughout history. Image credit James Aldridge

David Norcott, Business Development Director and part of our Sustainability Working Group, introduces the importance of Wessex Archaeology’s involvement with the Salisbury River Park project:

 

 “At Wessex Archaeology we’re committed to using archaeology and heritage to help our clients deliver real benefits for communities and the environment, and to meet their sustainability commitments across a wide range of social, environmental, and economic goals.

At Salisbury River Park, we are delighted to be working closely with the Environment Agency team to deliver added value to local communities, and to contribute to the highly positive legacy that we’re confident this scheme will have.”

James Aldridge Visual Arts practitioner

Wessex Archaeology’s collaboration with Visual Artist James Aldridge will adopt a multi-disciplinary approach to the River Avon’s role in the city. Image credit James Aldridge

Leigh Chalmers, Heritage Inclusion Development Specialist, gives an insight into how Wessex Archaeology is collaborating with local groups to enhance Salisbury River Park’s community action:

 

“This year sees the start of the Environment Agency’s approved scheme, The River Park project.  This is a joint project being developed by the Environment Agency, Wiltshire Council and Salisbury City Council which will reduce flood risk within Salisbury whilst creating wildlife corridors and improving biodiversity by connecting green spaces.

 

Wessex Archaeology have worked closely with the Environment Agency team and local artist James Aldridge to create The Ripple Effect, a creative heritage project designed to tell the story of Salisbury’s relationship with the River Avon through people, place and purpose.

 

This project is designed to improve people’s wellbeing through positive engagement with the local environment, the community and each other. There will be engagement with people across all generations through walks, workshops, creative moments, and shared experiences.”