Fantastical Histon

Histon Fantastical Map

We worked with the children and families and educators at Histon Early Years Centre in spring and early summer 2019. This reconnected a relationship begun in 2011 which led to one of our most popular resources - 37 Shadows. Artist Hilary Cox Condron lead the project, exploring the spaces for fantastical adventures with this community and creating this wonderful map above of Homefield Park as a result. The map was shared at the Histon 2019 Feast events as well as with all the families at the Centre. Copies were also given to new families registering for autumn 2019 to welcome them. 

We love visiting these woods. It is important for the children in many ways - we see their confidence grow as they take risks, try things out, ask questions and put forward their own ideas whilst working as part of a group. They gained so much from working with CCI on this project and we are really excited to share our new map. Karen, Head of Histon Early Years Centre

Updates from the workshops are shared below.

We also worked with the Histon and Impington Sustainability Group on their celebration of their green spaces for Mental Health Week and contributed to their celebration day on May 11th.

Our green spaces are priceless living playgrounds where children can explore, play and feel the elements. HiSustainability

A14 and Cambridge Community Foundation Logos

Working to save the world


Me and mummy and daddy work to save the world: Elliott told us this as he shaped new trees for his forest of ideas.

It’s been amazing to work with so many passionate explorers at Histon Early Years Centre. For our last day we had set ourselves up in the main garden, welcoming any children and their educators to come and help us create new work together.


Many of the ideas gathered to date were shared on the willow arches and children were invited to take this and add to it but also start new work off on the boxes and panels we’d bought along. The sun shone and ideas flowed. Families joined us at the end of the day too, enjoying the invitation to sit amongst the work and add their own.


These are magic symbols which make the forest come to light Claudia (4)
My tree is alive and real Arthur (4)
I wish this was here all the time Neha (4)
I would stay here forever Samantha (mum)


Our task now is to gather all these wonderful ideas and shape them into a new fantastical map for the Histon community. Watch this space.

Conversations across the ages


(by Hilary Cox Condron)

Today we visited Bramley Court Care Home with a group of children from Histon Early Years Centre. The children know the Home well and were excited to be sharing their weekly visit with us. As we walked together we passed giant cats, monsters in the streams and flying pigs.

Once at Bramley Court the children shared their drawings from the woods, photos of the ‘treasures’ they found and stories of dormice and giants.

Residents took the children on a tour to explore their gardens… starting with a trip to Animal Corner to meet the guinea pigs and hens. The children found a freshly laid egg and – quite miraculously - took it in turns to gently hold it as they explored before delivering it, uncracked, to the kitchen. Elliot drew this intricate picture of the chickens and guinea pigs.

We roamed the gardens, smelt the herbs, explored the sheds and helped clear the fishpond before heading back indoors to share a snack and memories of outdoor adventures new and old.

I remember all the names of the wild flowers. Sweet Hay - it got its name because it smelt sweet like hay - Herb-Robert, Scarlet Pimpernel, Selfheal….

I remember we would hold the buttercup under someone’s chin and if the yellow was reflected it meant they liked butter.

Celebrating Green Spaces


One hundred and three people of all ages joined us on Saturday May 11th to explore the fantastical qualities of Histon and Impington. 

Visitors were invited to immerse themselves into the sound worlds of the animals around us (recorded by bio-acoustic engineer William Seale) and then contribute new work to Nature’s Gallery.

We shared stories and ideas together and gathered wonderful new drawings for our fantastical map we are creating.

The day was part of a celebration of green spaces around the community organised by HISustainability. Huge thanks to their team for all their support and to our volunteers on the day Bridget Cusack and Gladys Jones.

Into the woods


(by Hilary Cox Condron) Homefield Woods are just over the road from the Histon Early Years Centre and we ventured out there on our second visit last week as explorers and artists, thinking together how to look up high, look down low and be very quiet to listen to the sounds. The youngest member of the group, Bertie, immediately found a bear print. Extraordinary drawings began to emerge of the sounds we could hear and treasure collections were carefully assembled.

Caitlin’s bashing sticks

Sophia’s rustling leaves

Back in the nursery we shared what we had found and began to create more stories and characters to inhabit them. Erin’s incredible mouse-like seedhead was given its own toy and named Tilly, who Erin then drew being carried by another dormouse named Reggie.

Caitlin spent time drawing her collection of treasures before adding ‘Kooka and Lawa the dinosaurs, who live with the mice in a treehouse in the woods. Kooka likes to eat chocolate with Peter Rabbit, Lawa can see things really far away… she found a coconut and took it to a summer beach to drink.’

Elliott quietly focused on creating an extraordinary and intricate collection of forest pictures to which he added smaller detailed observational drawings using a magnifying glass and a collection of animals.

We were struck by the focused concentration as the children remembered their morning in the woods and worked together on ideas for our fantastical map.  We will be taking lots of this work to share with residents in the nearby Bramley Court Care Home next. 

I am Reggie the dormouse


I am Reggie the dormouse

I am Reggie the dormouse, I am Lala Fair
I see a cocoon, my mummy, dandelions swishing in the breeze and a lipstick on the floor
I smell fish, rosemary and my breakfast of fresh flowers
I hear rain and my friend, the mouse, shivering
I have a little play.
I dream of fairies, rainbows, unicorns, crocodiles and flowers
I wish I had a dog, a magical toy and a hat-burger
I am Reggie the dormouse
I am Lala Fair

By Erin, James, Ataiah, Bertie, Amy, Caitlin, Sophia, Alexis, Eli, and Elliott (age 3 and 4)

(By Hilary Cox Condron) From sharing some of our favourite things – splashing in puddles, climbing, running, playing in the park and resting in the garden – to snoring like a dormouse and imagining dormouse dreams, our first ‘Fantastical Histon’ session was, indeed, fantastical.

What might a dormouse see and smell when it first wakes up after hibernation? And what might it’s nest look like?  Alexis and Sophia (4) created a kitchen for their dormouse nest - ready to prepare a breakfast of flowers. Nests were carefully placed in the garden so dormice could visit.

We know that being outdoor explorers and artists means we look at what is around us from all different angles – after being tiny mice with fresh new eyes, we imagined we were as big as Mo Carter, the Histon Giant…taking huge steps as we look down on the village.

Next week we will explore Homefield Park – imagining we are tiny and imagining we are huge. And we will also visit the nearby Bramley Court Care Home with some children and hear from residents about some of their favourite places in Histon.