Martin Maudsley

Martin Maudsley is a professional storyteller based in Bridport, performing a wide repertoire of traditional tales from local legends to earthy folk-tales and magical myths.

He is storyteller-in-residence for pioneering environmental arts charity Common Ground and has been collaborating with Stepping in Nature for the last two years running storytelling workshops to connect participants with nature, the seasons and a sense of place. He has particular passion for using storytelling to help people connect with local landscapes and has worked extensively within the Dorset AONB, including a long term myths and legends project on the South Dorset Ridgeway. He is also leading a schools-based environmental education project for the AONB called ‘The Council of All Beings’.

Martin is actively engaged with celebrating the seasons in and around his local neighbourhood, including Mummers Plays, Apple Days and Winter Wassails. He loves telling tales and singing songs about apple trees and orchards, as well as (occasionally) drinking a glass of cider in the place where it’s made! He has a created number of storytelling shows based on oral history and local folklore and is currently working on a new performance to celebrate 30 years of national Apple Day based on conversations with Dorset orchard owners and cider makers.

You can read some of Martin’s stories on our Myths and Legends project page

Rowan Beecham is an illustrator and educator living in Bridport, Dorset. Her long term involvement in education and the arts gives her a clear insight into the firing of children’s imagination to fuel their desire to learn. Throughout her career in education she has sought to infuse the National Curriculum with the ideas and thought processes of the Creative Arts. Over many years, the Dorset landscape has provided her with an educational resource and stimulus for performance and creative arts. She has arranged countless collaborative arts weeks in schools where every child, their parents and the local community take part. These, and their associated biodiversity clubs bring to children a heightened awareness of the variety of life on Earth and its ecosystems. Following a movement and dance project in a Dorset woodland, one small boy reflected: “I never knew trees could be dancing partners.”

She is currently working as an artist and illustrator, workshop coordinator and educator. Part of her work lies in supporting student teachers throughout their training. Alongside this mentoring role, she devises and delivers bespoke learning packages for children in and out of mainstream education. She remains actively involved in many local schools and community groups. She is currently extending her practice to study youth mental health awareness, focussing on the power of the natural environment to improve children’s mental wellbeing. Following a visit to a flower meadow where the children were spread out and given a period alone to sit and soak up the atmosphere, one eight-year-old reported: “That was the best twenty minutes of my life.”

Rowan Beecham, Council of All Beings

Landscapes with a story to tell

The Myths & Legends project is a collaborative project creating and sharing stories inspired by the landscapes of the South Dorset Ridgeway. Local storyteller Martin Maudsley worked with 180 school children from six schools to create this imaginative and fun series of Ridgeway myths and legends.

Get in touch

If you would like to get involved in the Council of All Beings or would like to know more, please contact Sue Dampney, Dorset AONB Culture, Community & Learning: / 01305 228242