The Village Green Society was an open forum to share and knowledge and stories about Goonhilly, with contributions from specialist and amateur experts.

A series of lectures and film screenings, held in the WW2 ‘Happidrome’, on Goonhilly related themes including art, local and social history, ruins, ecology, conservation, sacred geometry, telecommunications and space science.

Village Green Society Lectures

Chris Coldwell
Cornwall AONB

Chris is a Project Development Officer at the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He spoke about what this organisation is, what they do on the Lizard and across the whole AONB area, and how people might get involved in their work.

Photo: Sara Bowler

Dr Andrew Ormerod

Dr Ormerod is interested in understanding things we have forgotten about or overlooked from the past that are relevant to the future, with a particular interest in local farming systems and how resilient we can be in the face of global food systems.

Image: Croft Noweth by Sara Bowler

Katherine Ashton
Curator, Helston Museum

Curator of Helston Folk Museum, Katherine Ashton, gave an illustrated talk about the work of Helston Museum, including a quick tour of its collections.

Founded in 1949, the building was originally designed as the town’s Market House in 1837, with two separate buildings – one for butter and eggs, the other the meat market, and retains the original sloping granite floor. The Museum expanded into the meat market in the early 1980s, then into the adjoining Drill Hall in 1999.

The Museum’s collection reflects both the social and industrial history of The Lizard Peninsula, from mining, fishing and farming through to home life in the 18th – 20th centuries.

Previously run by Cornwall Council, management of the museum was taken over by the South Kerrier Heritage Trust in August 2013. The Trust is a local registered charity working with the community, and day to day work at the museum is largely undertaken by volunteers.

Henrietta Boex
Director, Falmouth Art Gallery

John Tunnard (1900-1971) described himself in later life as ‘a space-age painter’.  He attended the Royal College of Art where he specialised in textile design. By the 1930s he was gaining recognition for his painting and in 1933 he and his wife moved to Cadgwith. As his painting style matured, he experimented in a fusion of Surrealism and Constructivism that reflected his interest in jazz music, insect-life, science, technology, space travel and the local Lizard landscape.

Henrietta Boex is the Director of Falmouth Art Gallery. Before joining Falmouth Art Gallery as Director in 2013, she was development project manager at the Porthcurno Telegraph Museum. An exhibition about the Lizard artists, ‘Serpentine-Artists of the Lizard’, featuring the work of John Tunnard amongst others, was at Falmouth Art Gallery in 2015.

Image: John Tunnard, ”The Messenger (1969) Oil, tempera, sand & pencil on gesso-prepared board, 119.4 x 182.9 cm © the copyright holder photo credit: The Ingram Collection of Modern and Contemporary British Art

Abigail Reynolds

Abigail is an artist based in St Just with a studio at Porthmeor in St Ives. She spoke about works she has made on and for the Lizard peninsula in the past 5 years. All of these works use walking lines and sound alignments on key dates in the solar calendar as a structure. They also create moments bringing groups together to consider layered and haptic readings of specific places as a physical experience.

Image: Still from ‘The Mother’s Bones’, 2016

Dr Alan M.Kent
Poet, writer & academic

Dr Kent spoke about his latest novel “Turning Serpentine”. The work is set on The Lizard and in the landscape of Goonhilly Downs. Drawing on sacred geometry, his own research of the area, and of the ancient skill of serpentine turning, Kent explained the novel’s narrative and how this particular story arose.

Sir Ferrers Vyvyan
Trelowarren Estate

Estates and their owners come and go, but Trelowarren, on the edge of Goonhilly Downs, can point to 1,000 years of recorded history, the last 600 years in the hands of the Vyvyan family. For Sir Ferrers Vyvyan, it remains a work in progress. “Trelowarren is living history, not corporate heritage,” he said. “We want to maintain a traditional working estate that people can share with us.”

Sir Ferrers will be opened the inaugural Village Green Society Lectures in 2015 with a talk entitled ‘People and Landscape’.

Photo: The Williams Family, Vyvyan family collection

Dr Jonathan Bennie
Ecologist, geographer & academic

Dr Jonathan Bennie is a researcher based at the Environment and Sustainability Institute on the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus. He is also a member of the Biosciences department in the College of Life and Environmental Sciences at the University of Exeter.

He is currently working on a project to assess the ecological effects of night-time light pollution. As part of a research group, he looks at how species interact with their light environment, and the consequences of this for ecosystems.

“Light pollution” – unwanted artificial light at night – masks our view of the natural night sky.  But it also affects wildlife in a number of ways, from the familiar to the unexpected.  Research on Goonhilly Downs is helping us to understand some of the ways that artificial light at night affects plants and animals.

Photo: Jon Bennie

Paul Chaney

Artist Paul talked about the origins of the Lizard Exit Plan project and use the histories of the former inhabitants of the Downs to explore the problems of transcendence, and the notion of an impossible exit from the tyranny of the biotic sphere in the context of our current ecological predicaments.

Photo: Artur Tixiliski

Dr Caitlin Desilvey
Geographer, writer & academic

Dr Caitlin DeSilvey is a member of the Environment & Sustainability Institute at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus and Senior Lecturer in Environmental Social Science at the University. She is a geographer whose research explores the cultural significance of material change. Ruination and ‘re-wilding’ are her current topics of research.

“Nature conversation and preservation of built heritage are usually assumed to be distinct (if not oppositional) goals,” said Caitlin. “A place like Goonhilly suggests how this can be otherwise—derelict buildings provide habitat for plants and wildlife; a degree of ruination is accepted, and seen to enhance both aesthetic and ecological value. Management of such places is not without its tensions and problems—attempts to improve public access may impinge on both aesthetics and ecology—but these tensions tell us much about our values, and our different perspectives on a complex landscape.”

Photo: Artur Tixiliski

Eddy Search
GES Ltd.

The iconic and enigmatic dishes of Goonhilly Earth Station help define Goonhilly’s unique character. But what are they used for and why are they on Goonhilly? The audience learnt n more about one of the most incredible places in Cornwall: where the first transatlantic television signal sent via Telstar in 1962 signalled the beginning of a telecommuncations revolution. Goonhilly is now looking to the stars in its bid to become part of NASA’s Orion mission to the moon.

Eddy Search from Goonhilly Earth Station (GES Ltd.) revealed the history of Goonhilly Earth Station; current GES activities; future GES activities and aspirations, and took questions from the audience.

Photo: GES Ltd.

Village Green Film Society

Abigail Reynolds
Double Brass (2014)

A physical record of a performance piece by Abigail Reynolds in collaboration with St Keverne band in Cornwall. ‘Double Brass’ was performed at noon on the summer solstice 2014 and recorded entirely by audience members. This crowd-sourced video was edited together from 41 individual recordings. The next performance of ‘Double Brass’ will be at noon on the summer solstice 2020 at Kestle Barton.

Ben Rivers
Urth (2016)

The last woman on Earth. Filmed inside Biosphere 2 in Arizona, a center for research, outreach, teaching, and lifelong learning about Earth. Urth forms a cinematic meditation on ambitious experiments, constructed environments, and visions of the future. Writer Mark von Schlegell contributes a text-read as the final log instalments of a woman sealed inside an unforgiving environment. The film considers what an endeavor such as Biosphere 2 might mean today and in the near future, in terms of humankind’s relationship with the natural world.

With thanks to LUX

The Village Green Society 2015 was powered by renewable energy kindly supplied by Wattstor

Nelson Henricks
Satellite (2004)

The human ear. A gatherer of energy. A gatherer of sound. RPMs and BPMs. Satellites go up to the sky. Nelson Henricks combines found footage and techno beats to question western society’s ongoing obsession with science, technology and the future.

With thanks to LUX

Of This Parish (2014)

Of This Parish follows St. Anthony on a journey from a church tower to the threshold at which its bells can be heard. The film is both a sonic portrait of the Parish of Sul in Portugal and a meditation on the changing role of bells in a rural community.

Paul Chaney
Eathorne Stone (2004)

A moving image document showing the once lost Eathorne Stone Menhir near Falmouth. A chance meeting between Paul Chaney and folklorist Steve Paterson led to re-erection of this ancient stone after it had been uprooted and discarded by an over zealous farmer in the mid 1980’s

Photo of Eathorne Stone: maengurta (

Ian Helliwell
Practical Electronica (2011)

A documentary on FC Judd and early British electronic music, made over 3 years and completed in 2011. The film tells the story of pioneer Fred Judd, and his role in making and disseminating tape sounds and musique concrete across Britain.