Monday, 7 September 2015


One year on and the first landing is complete.

WILDERNEST  2014 to 2015-

A sanctuary where mythic iconography and rhubarb both grow well.
And poster poems paper the sea lanes. 

Under the eyes of the recalcitrant wolf woven in willow, and the ice age elk, 
a wheel of tin cans spins at the top of the waterfall. 

Above the new jetty and stone ballroom, spindle-vanes sway on high oak poles revealing a white hare and deer escaping fire. Whirlygig oystercatchers and corncrakes stand to for the next storm surge. 

The subtle ghost of a longship burial with Odin's figurehead dragon articulates the site 
and suggest the tips of deep rooted stories. A life raft unfolds. 

The iron firepit remains solid.
Rumour traces of immersive arts workshops, morning sound walks, 
evening gatherings with feasting, music, shadow theatre 
and Sicilian guests dancing late under the stars.  

Artists: Martin Brockman, Duncan Copley, John Fox, Jamie Proud, Bob Fisher, Dan Fox and Hannah Fox with civil engineer Peter Wilshaw and Martin Gooding, Richard Redwin and Daniel Higgs.
Project Management: Sue Gill with John Fox.


Sunday, 12 April 2015



Locality and place  - wood, water, stone & wind

The village of Baycliff is on a hillside overlooking the western sands of Morecambe Bay. Close by, hidden down Swinestead Lane - a narrow country lane that plunges down to the shore - is the Beach House. 

We are in the small parish of Aldingham - 7 sq. miles in size - with less than 1000 electors, average age 45 and rising fast. The parish boundaries extend into the sands. Indeed more of the parish lies in the sands than on dry land. So our population is extended by 18,000 micro marine critters per square metre living just under the surface of the bed of the sea. Our neighbours are mud shrimps, tiny snails, lugworms and cockles.

photos Prof Peter Matthiessen

I used to think that the name Swinestead Lane was a posh name for Pig Sty Lane, which puzzled me because this steep terrain is hardly conducive to rearing nice fat bacon. [ Our first online newsletter was  'Making a Pig's Ear of It']. Brief historical googling tells me that Swine originates from the Scandinavian word svein  and the Old English word swin both meaning a tidal creek. This certainly is a sheltered spot where boats could have been drawn up before the bay silted up. 

According to the Oxford dictionary Stead means locality or place and it is linked to the Old Norse word staor  meaning stop, pause ....    How pleasing is that! A place to stop and pause, to connect with the larger rhythms of nature, the tides and the seasons. Swinestead - the place and the time to re-balance.

Saturday, 28 February 2015


LEARNING the ROPES environmental arts workshop 18 - 21 May.

We are delighted to welcome Phillips Snell of Wild Arts as our Production Assistant for the workshop. 
She is the recipient of an ACE bursary for an emerging artist to participate in the WILDERNEST programme here at the Beach House. 

LEARNING the ROPES will be a re-examination of the principles of creating art in a context that unites the everyday and the larger rhythms of nature, the tides and the seasons. Space to re-balance and exchange skills.  JUST ONE LAST PLACE LEFT!      Stay in a stunning cottage right on the beach overlooking Morecambe Bay. Start your day with a 10 minute walk along the cobbled shoreline to the Beach House, home, studio and workspace of John Fox and Sue Gill. 

"It seems entirely likely that if the last wolf is to return anywhere then it will be here at the Beach House where art and life are carefully synchronised." Dee Heddon, Prof of Theatre Studies, University of Glasgow

Monday, 2 February 2015


Filling the gap between image 4 and image 6 - here it is, Mr Punch astride the skeleton of a prehistoric elk - the last of the collection finally to be mounted on the wall alongside the path down to the beach. Plenty of comments from passers by.

Our local astronomer from the village, with an observatory in his garden, walks his 2 dogs every day past the Beach House.
"Do you know Holbein's painting of The Ambassadors? Same content. You've hit the button," he said.
We didn't know it and had to look it up.
John replied that he is trying to make images that communicate and are not sentimental.
"That's not in the least sentimental," came the reply.

Then Lily, a neighbour. "I've been looking at your pictures. Very ritualistic. They're pagan, not C of E! Elemental I'd say."

These images are more than a metre high. John is producing A4 size prints in the studio on exquisite archival paper for people with smaller walls to hang them on.

Monday, 25 August 2014


PRINTS from original paintings by JOHN FOX & MARTIN BROCKMAN.


Installed on 20th August along the path down to the shoreline below the Beach House. 

Monday, 11 August 2014


DEAD GOOD WORDS: STANDING HIS GROUND: The Ghost Elk has survived ex-hurricane Bertha. Installed by artist Martin Brockman as the first part of the Wildernest Project  - a growin...


The Ghost Elk has survived ex-hurricane Bertha. Installed by artist Martin Brockman as the first part of the Wildernest Project  - a growing sculpture garden in this elemental landscape located here below the Beach House. Four artists' commissions using wood, stone, water and wind to create four temporary installations, made possible by funding from the Arts Council.

We are averaging 500 visitors a month. Some stumble across the work accidentally, others are driven by curiosity and fascination to search for almost a mile heading south along the cobbled shoreline from Sea Wood car park [where they spot the sign announcing the hazel herd on the beach]. The rumour is out. Once discovered, they linger, take photos, read the panel about the mythology then turn and walk back to their cars.

Responses range from " As I saw it I immediately thought WARHORSE!"
to " I like the baby one best".