Harestanes celebrates 20 years
Published 2 May 2012 09:30 0 Comments
HARESTANES Countryside Visitor Centre is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year.
Borders Regional Council re-opened the former Lothian Estates Woodland Centre, near Ancrum, in May 1992 as part of efforts to develop the local tourist economy and to provide a base for its Countryside Ranger Service. Twenty years on and the visitor centre is as busy as ever.
The anniversary is being marked with a number of events and new projects including 'A History of Harestanes', an exhibition and photographic archive which looks at the past century of change in the local countryside. Harestanes Assistant Angie Forman coordinated the exhibition with retired estate head joiner and keen photographer Alex Turnbull - pulling together a diverse mix of images, paintings, sculpture and film.
Centre Assistant Angie Forman said: "The exhibition is only the beginning of an ongoing project to digitise historic and more recent images of Harestanes and the surrounding area. Change is a constant and even in the past 20 years many features have come and gone, not all of them well recorded. We are always keen to see photographs that visitors may have taken whilst on a day out at Harestanes, especially in the 1980s. Looking further back we would be delighted to discover any images of cricket being played in the Cricket Park field next to the visitor centre. The old pavilion is still standing but the last cricket match was played before the second world war."
'A History of Harestanes' also reflects the key input of artists and crafts people to the success of the visitor centre and who continue to contribute so much to the local economy and culture.
Acclaimed sculptor Tim Stead, who died in 2000, began his work in Scotland at Harestanes and Maggy Stead has kindly loaned two iconic chairs and sculptural work. Rarely seen prints by Harestanes-based artist Charlotte Hunter are also on display, unique records of life and events around the visitor centre. Valerie Pragnell was Harestanes artist-in-residence during 1993 and her work with willow continues to influence many of the centre's activities. Valerie died in 2006 and her daughter has kindly loaned work for display.
'A History of Harestanes' can be seen in the visitor centre's refurbished gallery and is open daily until Monday 7 May.
Other forthcoming anniversary events include the launch of a 'Friends of Harestanes' group and the planting of a small orchard later in the year.
This article appeared in Border Telegraph 02 May 12
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