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New films show off city’s green riches

Published: 14 December 2020

Valley Parks video Riverside Valley Park is featured in the new films

A series of new films have been released showcasing Exeter’s beautiful Valley Parks in all their green glory.

The five, two-minute films have been commissioned by the Devon Wildlife Trust, who manage the green spaces on behalf of the City Council, and feature Riverside, Ludwell, Mincinglake, Duryard & Belvidere and Barley Valley Parks.

The films were put together as part of the charity’s work to make the city’s Valley Parks even better known and even more accessible. Each of the films are free to enjoy and available via the Devon Wildlife Trust’s You Tube channel and website.

Cllr David Harvey, Lead Councillor for City Management, was full of praise for the films. He said: “These are beautiful films that really showcase our stunning Valley Parks. We are so lucky to have so many expansive green spaces in the city that people can take advantage of. You don’t have to leave the city to find beautiful countryside, we have it right on our doorstep!”

The films were made by Exeter-based film maker Andy Thatcher. The process of recording and editing footage strengthened an already strong relationship between Andy and his home city.

Andy said: “I've lived in Exeter since 2008 and have been running through Riverside Valley Park several times a week for most of that time. The sense of space, the connection with nature and the seasons has been crucial to how I think about myself and the world. I never fail to get excited at the flash of a kingfisher, or when the mist descends.

“Since starting work on these films, I've got to know the other Valley Parks too. Living in an urban area can often feel oppressive, especially going days without seeing a horizon, so the Valley Parks have given me a fresh look at my home, and made me appreciate how Exeter sits within the wider geography of this gorgeous part of the UK.”

Andy worked throughout the summer capturing footage and interviewing people about their experiences of visiting the Valley Parks. In the films the viewer gets a range of stunning views of Exeter, whilst also hearing local voices expressing the reasons they love the Valley Parks.

Andy said: “It’s always great speaking to people who are passionate about local green space, but as the films were made during varying degrees of lockdown, that contact with others was often the high point of my day, keeping me and the interviewees engaged with the world beyond our homes.

“I've learned a great deal, and it's been really interesting that each interviewee had something personal and individual to say that others didn't touch on. I hope these films will help people get to know these precious places better, visit somewhere new, or even just provide a nudge to get out for a quick potter.”  

Anya Oliver from Devon Wildlife Trust said: “The films capture the essence of each of the Valley Parks beautifully. The films were shot in the summer and are a wonderful reminder of golden days with blue skies and warm weather. They were also filmed at a time when we saw a big rise in the numbers of people using the Valley Parks. We think this was partly due to the great weather, but also to Covid-19. Restrictions on movement, plus the need to take daily exercise, saw people using and appreciating these great, green jewels. I hope these films will encourage even more people to get out and enjoy their local Valley Parks.”

The films helped Andy gain a distinction from the University of Bristol's MA in Film and TV. He is now embarking on a PhD in Film at Manchester School of Art.

Watch the films on the Devon Wildlife Trust’s website or by going to Devon Wildlife Trust’s YouTube channel.


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