Louise Thirlwall, Project Officer (Arts & Community)

In my role I am currently working with artists Caroline Wendling and Madhu Manipatruni and Singer/ Songwriter Yvonne Hercules who, as part of their 16 week residency, have been exploring different areas of the Park. During one of our weekly meetings I spoke to Caroline and Madhu about some of their favourite discoveries.

Louise Thirlwall (LT), Caroline Wendling (CW), Madhu Manipatruni (MM)

LT: Caroline - over the last few weeks you have spent time exploring the Park and meeting staff and visitors – where are some of your favourite places?

CW:  I think I like the place where the bench is that says  - ‘To the best boss ever’ near Goldie Meadow, I love the view of the river there.  I also like to go on top of the Mound – it reminds me of climbing up Primrose Hill when I was a student in London. The third place is near Milton Ferry Bridge, I  enjoy looking at the reflection of the bridge in the water. The other thing is that I love sitting on the ground by Gunwade lake, opposite Swallow Bridge.

LT: You are really interested in finding out visitors’ stories and you have been speaking to people, at a safe distance of course. What have they been sharing with you?

CW: While I have been drawing and sketching in the Park I have spoken to so many interesting people. I met a wonderful lady that told me about her favourite spot opposite a kingfisher’s nest and I was lucky to see a kingfisher 3 times in 20 minutes –  there was a lovely flash of blue light  - it was amazing! Someone sent me a lovely drawing of the Bird in Flight Sculpture and I met a wonderful family who loved the view from Pontoon Bridge over Overton Lake.

LT: What has surprised you during the last few weeks?

CW: Do you know what, it is the number of smiling faces I have met. Visitors are still smiling in the bad weather.

LT: Madhu, have you found a favourite place to paint and sketch?

MM: I have couple of favourite places, one is Woodston Reach and the other is around Landy Bridge (near the Lakeside Cafe). 

Sitting there, I've heard an otter, seen herons and a shoal of fish, and hear lots of birds as well.  Woodston Reach is such a beautiful, cosy space. I love the beefsteak mushrooms on the Ash trees. I took Caroline and Yvonne there; they both loved this place. We got to hear the whistle of the steam train too.

LT: What interesting things have you found out about the Park?

MM: As someone who lives in Peterborough, I've used the park for walks with my family and picnics. I am amazed by the dedication and passion of the park rangers, members of staff and the volunteers who work for the Park. Their knowledge and passion for the environment and wildlife is inspirational. I always found the Park clean and realise now the effort it takes to keep it that way. 

As an artist in the Park, I spent time slowing down and connecting with nature through drawing. I noticed the wild flowers in the meadows, butterflies, birds, fish in the waters. This slowing down really helped me, especially at stressful times. I am also fascinated to discover the ancient Iron Age and Roman history associated with the Park and the River Nene. It's been a real privilege to be an artist in residence at Nene Park.

The Park Art residency is kindly supported by public funding through Arts Council England. You can get involved in the residency by sending your Park stories or drawings to [email protected]. You can find out more about the artists on our project page and view Madhu’s work on her blog.

Park Manager Greg Higby, talking to the artists about the elm trees in Ferry Meadows