Bodmin Moor

Dark Skies: Bright Stars on Bodmin Moor

Dark Skies: Bright Stars brings together heritage partners and creative practitioners to explore the exciting history of astronomy in Cornwall. Starting with a junior schools puppetry project inspired by the incredible links between The Hurlers stone circles and our understanding of our relationship to the stars! Please see below for updates about our activities on Bodmin Moor during 2017!

Couch Adams project with Lawrence House museum

We are delighted to have been working with Launceston Museum (Lawrence House) on a creative science heritage engagement project, as part of our Dark Skies: Bright Stars project. Four local junior schools have been learning about Launceston Local Hero John Couch Adams (co-discoverer of Neptune). The young people visited the museum to research Couch Adams and then put what they had learnt into some beautiful prints, working with Sophie Fordham our specialist printmaker. The children really enjoyed the process and created some beautiful prints!  We also co-hosted a wonderful free printmaking workshop at the museum on Saturday 12th August. All funded by the Royal Society Local Heroes scheme, with a little help from Mayes Creative! Special thanks to our workshop leader Sophie, all the volunteers at the museum and all the schools and young people for getting involved.

We also worked with the museum to produce a new booklet on the life and work of Couch Adams, using the children’s prints as illustrations! Watch out for copies at Launceston Museum (Lawrence House) & Launceston Library…… Thanks to Malcolm Wright for researching and writing the text and to Sophie and our wonderful designer Cas from Flying Lizard Designs for making it all look so lovely. Here’s a little film about our day of summer activities for families in Launceston….

Liskeard School film project with Cinestar

Mayes Creative brought in Cinestar artist filmmakers to work with the art department at Liskeard School to offer an unusual analogue film workshop for their students. The students’ final film is below….congratulations to everyone for creating a really unusual and memorable film response to our astronomy heritage.
The film below is a mash-up of the student’s work with ‘cameraless film’ where they took old footage bought blind on ebay called Longitude and Latitude which turned out to be an old informational film. The students scratched, scraped and drew on it, with changed both the image and sound. The results were telecined at IDailies and can be seen below. A completely different, more random and tactile, effect than digital manipulation.

Vital Spark – congratulations to all involved

This was a wonderful evening full of creativity! We are very much looking forward to hearing more about how some of these new collaborations develop….thanks to everyone involved and especially to Lois Taylor for all the wonderful creative inspiration and to Carolyn Kennett for sharing heritage inspiration!



Overview of the Dark Skies: Bright Stars programme

Mayes Creative is working on our exciting project series, inspired by Cornwall’s bids for Dark Skies status. Our first phase, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Feast, involved looking at the heritage of astronomy in Cornwall, working with Brian Sheen of the Roseland Observatory & Caroline Kennett of South West Astronomy Heritage and our team of artists. Click here for details of last year’s exciting activities on Bodmin Moor!

We now have additional funding from Arts Council England, Cornwall Industrial Trust and Feast to bring in exciting new science and technology partners to extend the project into deep space exploration (contemporary astronomy), including a Raspberry Pi home-built cosmic ray detector!

We are currently planning our follow-on project inspired by the next Cornish bid for Dark Skies status – Penwith and Isles of Scilly! We will hear more about the funding for this in March 2018, but until then we’re on the starting blocks and ready to go!


Darite school pupils visit The Hurlers site as research for our puppetry project. Travel support kindly supplied by Cornwall Heritage Trust

 Sky Dances at Rosehip Barn & Sterts Theatre

>Youth and adult dancers & artists joined highly experienced dance artist Lois Taylor to learn about our local heritage through creative dance. Lois noted that,
“We are finding out about John Couch Adams, his discovery of Neptune by noticing the perturbation of Uranus and doing the maths! We have discovered the planet orbits on a tilt, has huge winds, is an amazing blue.We have been in awe at the scale of mathematical equations needed to do this discovery so the youth dance group have been doing dance equation: how many spins or wriggles does it get from point a to point B, we have covered the wall with a large sheet of paper to write up our sums. They have been orbiting each other, we have done a “Got it” dance for the moment that J C A realised he had worked things out! We have pulled each other off course enjoying the meaning of a new word to us “perturbation” and we have rubbed our feet in coloured pastels and danced our dances onto paper on the floor to see what patterns we create.”

Astronomy Heritage

Brian Sheen from Roseland Observatory and Carolyn Kennett of South West Astronomy Heritage have started work on their heritage research for the project; working out the best way to share what they know and continuing research into the life of John Couch Adams. John Couch Adams, Cornwall’s most important astronomer, co-discovered Neptune with Le Verrier in 1846.

We are also focusing on the Rev Haydon, who was head of Liskeard grammar school, and was part of the important longitude investigations in the 1700s.

Alongside these astronomy heroes, we are also enjoying learning more about The Hurlers stone circles at Minions, Bodmin Moor. These incredible circles are now investigated has having key relationships with both Orian’s Belt and the position of the sun at important times of the year (Equinox and Solstice).

Brian and Carolyn and working towards producing self-guided tour leaflets to help us all enjoy the astronomy heritage of Bodmin Moor and beyond.

Summer activities for families

Our summer offer for families is now complete! See below for details :). Thanks again to Heritage Lottery Fund, Feast and everyone who buys lottery tickets and supports project such as these.