Inspiring conversations about landscape and people, the Talking Tent was set up as part of the Dorset National Landscape 60th anniversary celebrations and supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

During 2020 many people rekindled their love of natural landscapes and enjoyed both walking and relaxing in outdoor spaces near to where they live. Having time to sense the slowly unfolding seasons also allowed people to reconnect with strong memories of past experiences in the places they know and love in Dorset.

The Talking Tent project was led by storyteller Martin Maudsley and landscape poet Sarah Acton, and aimed to capture seasonal connections and personal relationships with the landscape past, present and future. The Talking Tent pitched up – virtually and for real – across Dorset, gathering collective stories, memories and hopes for the future. Martin and Sarah asked – do you have a special place, a fond memory, a story from times past? Do you feel a connection to Dorset’s outstanding landscape and places?

You can listen to the responses they received by clicking on the podcasts on the Talking Map below:

Talking Map

The Talking Tent project used the seasons to get conversations started – with Spring and Summer stimulating many stories and poems from Martin and Sarah which helped to  spark memories.

Delcombe in Spring (c) Tony Gill

Let's talk about Spring!

May Day is a seasonal celebration that is both ancient in origin and with customs and traditions that continue into modern-day life. It rejoices in the brighter, warmer days that lead us into summer and the vibrant growth of vegetation and flowers in the outdoor world. Hear some of the Spring stories we collected in the Tent.

Swyre Head (c) Oscar de Wit Dorset NL

Let's talk about Summer!

As spring rolled into summer, Martin Maudsley and Sarah Acton share stories, poems and their own feelings about summer.

Who's in the Talking Tent?

Meet our Talking Tent hosts – storyteller Martin Maudsley and poet Sarah Acton – we love working with them and you can find out more about them here

60 years in the making

Talking Tent is part of the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty 60th anniversary activities to celebrate and protect the places we love and find new ways to create connections within the living landscape in years to come.