I’m getting ready for two Storytelling events that are coming up. One online on 9th December and one live at the Stoke Cannon Inn on 17th January 2022. Both of these events are free as they are part of the bigger project ‘Connecting the Culm’. One aspect of what I’ve been asked to do has been to consider both the past of the River Culm and also what the possible future might look like, with the help of some good intervention and awareness.

I set off in search of stories back in June and since then I’ve been walking along the river, wandering around the villages, towns and churches in the Culm valley, chatting to local people, pouring over maps, digging around in libraries and generally seeking out good tales about this area.

What has emerged are two longish stories (about 25mins each) and a collection of shorter tales. I recently walked around the Killerton area and saw some of the changes that the project are making; Scrapes have been dug out of the flood plain, along the Paleo channels, these are old paths that the river took in the past. The old riverbed left gravel and silt and making this a good natural place to encourage pools and ponds for wildlife.

It made me think of my Dragon story, the Dragon who lives in the Killerton and Cadbury hills. In the story he watches all the goings on around his hills and the river Culm. He is a very ancient Dragon and can remember early times when humans were much closer to nature, when the Warrior Kings gathered to defend the land (Cadbury castle is one possible location for the court of King Arthur). The Dragon can remember when the Ladies of the Waters swam through the river. He misses them and he watches, one eye always looking out of one hill or another. As I walked around the valley at Killerton I saw a lot of possible Dragon eyes in the landscape!

Here are photographs of some of them, but maybe you can find your own?

I also met with a warrior in an old fallen Oak trunk – can you see him? He has a long beaky nose, big eyebrows and a beard.

The water in the scrapes looked like mirrors like to me. Did the Dragon scratch the scrapes out with his claws?

Are the ladies of the waters, looking into their mirrors, somewhere far away and seeing the new mirrors in the waters here? Might they return?

Like shards of light, might the new ponds and pools created around the river, send glimmering reflections across the landscape, calling gently, for change? Maybe they will send a call to the Ladies of the Waters to bring deep wellbeing back to the land. Maybe the Dragon is smiling, flexing his claws….

To hear this story and others, please join me (Clare Viner) at one of the above events – click below to hear a taster of the Dragon story…

River Culm
A large brown bull
A view across the landscape with a stream, pool of water and farm buildings
River Culm
Twisted roots of a large fallen tree
A tree stump with a hole
A tree stump with a hole
A tree stump with a hole and moss