Goonhilly Downs is a high barren expanse of the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, UK. We started working with land manager Natural England there in 2006 to produce Happidrome, a series of artist-led events.
This special place, never truly inhabited by humans, bears witness to millions of years of history; from its rare serpentinite geology, through Bronze age barrows and trackways, subsistence farms and experimental forests to WW2 radar bases and the space age, where the first transatlantic television signals and pictures of the Moon landings were received at Goonhilly Earth Station.
Now designated as a protected Site of Special Scientific Interest for its rare and diverse plant and animal species, Goonhilly is a unique ancient landscape where the deep past intersects with deep space.
At its heart is the Drytree menhir, or standing stone, which marks the convergence of five parish boundaries, but as those who live locally know, Goonhilly itself has no central village.
Building on our learning from Happidrome of staging off site, off grid activities and inspired by the perfect green sward of the nearby ex-BT recreation ground amidst the rough heath, we developed the idea of a transient assembly of curious folk, who would assemble for a day at the heart of Goonhilly on a pop-up village green.
Through a programme of free, public events and activities from 2015-19, Goonhilly Village Green aimed to gather a diverse range of people and interests in a series of celebratory events; to meet, talk, play and learn about Goonhilly; to find common ground on this historic common land.
Goonhilly Village Green was supported by funds from Arts Council England, Heritage Lottery Fund, FEAST, Ernest Cook Trust Enviroment & Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter and the Elmgrant Trust, and in partnership with Natural England, GES Ltd., The Museum of Cornish Life, Trelowarren Estate, Lizard Outreach Trust and Goonhilly Heritage Society.