FILMS reimagining the experiences of wild animals made by young people in partnership with a leading artist will be exhibited in a magical cave setting for a Wye Valley River Festival exhibition.

Open access arts event the Wye Valley River Festival, which is staging its 10th anniversary programme, is presenting a film show called Any Thing Moving, is on display from Saturday, May 25, until Sunday, June 2 at Clearwell Caves, near Coleford.


Visitors to the caves will be able to watch three films created over a year by artist Esther May Campbell and young people from the Bristol-based Kitchen Table Photo club.

Their collaboration resulted in audio visual works which tell stories of human, spirit and kinship with animals. The young people played make-believe and tied camera traps to trees and rocks to record sounds of the wind and trees along with footage of wildlife including a badger, a heron, a buzzard, a deer and a fox.

Running alongside the cave films is an exhibition of photographs in the venue café, which was produced by two groups of young people in the Wye Valley with Esther and the Kitchen Table Photo Club throughout the autumn in a project called Wye Wonderment.

Organised as part of the Wye Valley River Festival community outreach programme, the groups used analogue cameras and were invited to explore their imagination in woodland to create images exploring wilderness, ancestry, the land and the earth beneath our feet, the latter being this year’s festival theme.

The displays come after the 10-day main programme was held earlier in May, attracting audiences to largely-free live music, feasts and theatre at venues along the Wye Valley.

The events were organised by Wye Valley River Festival CIC, an arts organisation led by artists and communities. Artistic director Phillippa Haynes said: “We are delighted to be able to offer a wonderful series of films in the unique setting of Clearwell Caves, alongside the photos taken in the local area through our community programme.

“It has been a delight to see the playful creativity and thoughtful exploration of place, friendship and imagination come together through the Wye Wonderment project. The Main May festival may be over but Wye Valley River Festival is still able to offer these wonderful events to celebrate the landscape and raise awareness of local ecosystems.”

Among those to be impressed by Anything Moving is leading poet and gardener Alice Oswald. She said: “Anything Moving is so good, so un-bossy in its artistry, so moving as portraits of children, and therefore portraits of all of us. Really I cannot think of any other account of childhood that doesn’t feel patronising by comparison. What it offers is profound, abundant and not quite graspable. I love it.”

To view the films inside the caves, visitors need to pay for entry. The Wye Wonderment exhibition at the café is free to view.

Staged at sites from Hereford to Chepstow, this year’s festival ecological theme was “the earth beneath our feet” and highlights included Farm Walk and Fodder, an evening meal and tour by regenerative farmer Ben Taylor-Davies, who showed how good food can be produced at his farm near Ross whilst sequestrating carbon from the atmosphere.

Banners created at Queering The Wye LGBTQ+ youth sessions were on display at several events and a Queering the Wye Craftspace workshop was held in Hereford. Artspace Cinderford delivered workshops linked with food, with mobile artworks created by the public.

The Festival, developed in partnership with Wye Valley National Landscape, is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Arts Council England, Arts Council Wales, the Sustainable Development Fund, the Welsh Government, Cadw and Ashley Foundation.