Creatures of all kinds gathered at Ballard Lake yesterday for a family-friendly, interactive walk, written and illustrated by local creator, Charlotte Moore. This launch also marked the first day of the Play on Words Literature Festival in New Milton.
As people gathered around Ballard Lake, Lois from Story Quest, the quest leader, introduced the story: Dotty Duck had planned a surprise party for Terry Toad, but forgot to invite all of their forest friends. Could we help Cyril the Squirrel deliver the invitations in time?
After some quick quacking of reassurance to Dotty Duck, a group of around 25 adults and children followed Lois on an adventure trail, across a magical troll bridge and into the realm of the Fairy Queen, answering questions and solving puzzles in the printed Story Quest book.
While the first group went on the Story Quest, other families took part in art activities led by Charlotte and New Milton Youth Trust. There were also stalls from Culture in Common, Hampshire Library Service and Friends of Ballard Water Meadow.
The story quest lasted about an hour and was also attended by Councillor Steve Clarke representing the Milton Ward for New Forest District Council and Sarah Connacher, a local resident and driving force behind the Play on Words Festival. Also present were a pair of cows, recently introduced to Ballard Water Meadow to graze on the pasture.
Steve and Sarah were thrilled to see such good turnout from the local community, on a day when even the weather was on its best behaviour. The children taking part seemed to be having a wonderful time as well as making the most of the puddles with their wellington boots.
Story Quest is delivered in partnership with the National Literacy Trust, Culture in Common and the New Milton Youth Trust. Booklets are available to collect from the New Milton Town Hall, New Milton Library and Forest Arts Centre, and downloadable from the Culture in Common website.
Carla Hall - Breakthrough Apprentice.