3rd March 2020
Over 1,850 people braved the cold, rainy weather and made the most of the extra leap-year day for an immersive exhibition at Fort Burgoyne in Dover on Saturday, 29 February.
Waking the Giant was a free day of making, craft and folklore, featuring work from artist in residence Matt Rowe.
The event was part of Pioneering Places East Kent’s year-long project to engage the community with the historic fort and its owners, the Land Trust, as it looks ahead to the future of Fort Burgoyne.
Since the Land Trust took on the site in 2014, the team has been working hard to restore the fort to its former glory, with a significant amount of work going into making it safe for the public.
Chris Valdus, the Land Trust’s Heritage Project Manager for Fort Burgoyne, said: “It was fantastic to see so many people at the fort this weekend.
“We have had several small groups visit the site over the years to carry out volunteering work, take part in Green Angels training or just for an educational experience, but to have nearly 2,000 people wanting to get involved with this place was incredible.
“It was a real community spirited event. Local people, local crafts and tradespersons, and local history.
“There has been over ten organisations working together to make this event happen, all with the aim of engaging the community with the site and getting people involved in something they might not usually do. It is with huge thanks to everyone involved that the day went so successfully.”
In addition to tours of the fort, visitors could take park in activities such as pottery, a VR escape room, willow work and blacksmithing. The day also included performances, music and art displays.
Having been built over 150 years ago and lain dormant for decades, the event provided a glimpse into Fort Burgoyne’s exciting future.
With plans to enable more people to visit and enjoy this hidden gem just a stone’s throw from Dover Castle, organisers have told visitors to keep their eyes peeled for future opportunities and events at Fort Burgoyne.
It is a privilege to work for an organisation that puts communities at the heart of its work. The knowledge that I am helping to provide a better environment, especially in areas where open green space is in short supply, is what motivates and inspires me.
Victoria Webbon, Estates Officer
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