What a brilliant 3 days we had recently with Luxulyan school children as part of the project ‘Landmark Travels; Your past in a suitcase.‘ After learning about the history of the valley and viaduct, we walked the old tramway from Ponts Mill, stopping to draw, discuss and collect. The weather was glorious and the walk through the stunning Luxulyan Valley to Treffry viaduct was full of birdsong, bluebells and wildlife.
As we reached the viaduct the air was filled with the sound of Cornish music, and children were welcomed to a community picnic complete with pasties, saffron cakes and yeast buns! Children were invited to join in with the singing, with the favourite song being “there’s something about a pasty!” For lunch we were joined by some of the Trustees from the Cornish Heritage Trust, as well as local community members who shared stories about the valley.
We decided to arrange this picnic in memory of a brilliant story we were told by local farmer Ivan Phillips, whose great-grandparents once lived in the farmhouse just up from the viaduct.
The children listened beautifully as Ivan told them about how people would come from far away to admire the viaduct as it was such an amazing piece of engineering for the time. His great-grandparents Bessie (pictured) and Samuel Hawken would look out their window to spot the visitors as they arrived on the branch line train from Newquay to Luxulyan. Bessie would count the visitors as they walked across the fields and make tea and scones to welcome them. Sometimes Samuel would even take the horse and cart down all the way to Lostwithiel to pick up saffron cake.
Taking this idea one step further we created large bunting out of cloth napkins, which the children decorated and hung this over the edge of the viaduct.
The following day we returned to Luxulyan school to make memory badges with the children, inspired by the drawings and notes that the children had gathered during the visit. These were then added to the specially created suitcase which will be passed onto the next school.
All in all it was a great few days, with some fantastic work produced… Watch this space for a film about the visit, narrated by the children.