Goonhilly Taskscape presented history, stories and folktales connected to the Downs. The area has been described as a ‘dreary waste’ but it is evident that the presence of people has fundamentally shaped what happens there and how it looks today. The topography of the area was created to scale in local soil, based on a cardboard contour model of the 1:25000 Ordnance Survey map of the Lizard. Numerous models from different historic periods were added, referencing the area’s ‘stories’, from the satellite dishes to Goonhilly ponies and the reputed Dry Tree gallows. The piece encouraged people to consider the Downs as an evolving landscape that is neither static nor 100% natural. The presence of people has shaped how the Downs look and continues to influence what happens today. For instance, in the next year or two it’s likely the satellite dishes will be removed, while larger wind turbines are currently being installed to replace 14 smaller ones that will be taken down. Curiously, the area has never been permanently settled but it has been utilised for symbolic and experimental purposes, which continues today.
Silhouetted satellite dishes
1930’s day trip to the Lizard
Hiker and wind turbines
19th Century Milkmaids and 20th Century tanker
Spitfire and airmen
Tiger Moth and airmen
Goonhilly ponies, now extinct
Mid-20th century car – Ford Cortina
WW2 anti-aircraft gun on Bronze Age barrow close to Croft Pasco forest during World War II
Satellite dishes, anti-glider defences, receiver masts, Dry Tree standing stone and Dry Tree gallows, 3,500BC-2000AD
The murder of William Hancock by John Thompson and John Barnicoat (who protested his innocence) but was still hanged at Bodmin for the crime in 1821. Both Johns were subsistence farmers at Croft Pasco and Croft Noweth respectively. The farms fell into disuse after their deaths. The piskies of Croft Noweth are a near forgotten folktale about the first farmers there.