Springhead – a rural centre for creative and sustainable living

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  Bank Holiday Monday 27 August, Open Garden, 10-5, café serving refreshments and light lunches. Admission £3.50, under 16 and Friends of Springhead free. Dogs on leads welcome and assisted … Read more


Springhead is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a grant under the LEADER funding body. Upon the death of Rosalind Richards – daughter of Rolf Gardiner and life … Read more


5TH-17TH DECEMBER 2017       (Closed Saturday 9th December)

10.00 am – 5.00 pm

Shaftesbury-based environmental artist Gary Cook has been spending his days in the dappled light of our north Dorset woods in a race against time to record some of the county’s most treasured views before a little-known threat to ash trees changes them forever.

His 25 plein air watercolours of classic Dorset woodscapes will be on show from 5-17 December. The solo exhibition called Rooted in Dorset is a celebration of the endangered ash tree. Cook says, “Spending hours painting among the trees is such a treat. It’s a natural digital detox. I call it forest bathing in watercolour. It’s heartbreaking to think that this amazing scenery could be lost over the next few years.”

Gary who is The Ecologist magazine’s artist in residence champions the cause of nature through his work and explains: “Unfortunately, our ash trees will face a grave threat in the next couple of years. It is predicted that 90% of the country’s 70m ash will be wiped out by an imported fungal disease. For comparison, Dutch elm disease obliterated our population of 30m elm trees in the Sixties. Elm still hasn’t recovered. It’s terrifying to think we are sleepwalking into the same scenario for ash.”

He was an associate editor and the senior artist for The Sunday Times for 26 years, winning many international awards for his illustrations. He now subtly layers his ethereal traditional watercolours with statistics about the effect ash dieback could have on our iconic woodlands. His recurring theme is that 1,058 species, from bats to beetles and lichens to mammals, are dependent on ash trees. All will be affected with the trees’ decline and even the experts cannot predict what the knock-on impact of such dramatic habitat loss may have on wildlife generally.

Gary makes a donation for every sale to the Springhead Trust and other local charities that are promoting regeneration of Dorset woodlands by planting saplings that are resistant to the disease.

The exhibition will also feature a series of iconic wildlife infocanvases.

Entrance to the exhibition is free.

The cafe will not be open.

For further information visit www.cookthepainter.com