We had a wonderful time at our fifth bi-annual Forum in mid-November 2022. Held at Cullompton Community Centre, we welcomed over 60 guests to enjoy an evening of talks, film, discussion and discovery.

The main highlight was a talk by Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Towns movement and author of “What If…?”. Rob, who worked with us during Covid lockdown to develop our vision, using his time machine to travel to the future, shared his thoughts on how we need to imagine a positive future that is in balance with the planet, rather than allowing fear to paralyse us. His talk was inspiring and the room was buzzing with excitement and energy after he’d finished.

Rob was himself excited by how Richard Carman, our resident artist who took part in the visioning sessions that Rob facilitated, had developed his sketches into beautiful and effective finished drawings. Rob has written a blog about the experience, which you can read here. Rob’s blog features several of Richard’s images and you can see the whole set on our new “Blueprint” website (section 2: Developing the Vision).

An illustration of children learning outdoors by Richard Carman

The other highlight was the “World Premiere” of our new film about the work we’ve been doing through the Connecting the Culm project over the last 3 years. Made by Dorset-based Justin Owens the 13-minute film takes you into the challenges the river faces and the solutions we are working on with partners. We hope you enjoy it!

The other key event of the evening was the launch of our new Blueprint website. This is the platform for our Blueprint Action Plan and it contains a series of interactive maps that allow you to zoom in and explore the environment around your home, or any area of interest within the catchment. You can also view a map showing the “Potential Areas of Increased Resilience” (PAIRS) which indicate where tree planting, improved soils and floodplain connection is likely to have the greatest impact on flood and drought (this map is under the section titled “Working with Nature”).

PAIRS map - Potential Areas of Improved Resilience in the River Culm Catchment

Additionally, in the section titled “Action Plan” you can see our targets for the next 27 years, with interim targets for 2030 and 2040. There’s also a function where you can upload any nature-based solutions you have installed, or plan to install, on your land. This information will be uploaded to a public map, so we can chart progress on achieving our targets across the catchment. You can access a form to upload your information here.

A screen shot of the form to contribute to the Connecting the Culm Action Plan