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Box Hill buzzes with wild and Olympic life

28 July 2012

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Forest Path © Rachel Henson and Neil ManuellForest Path © Rachel Henson and Neil Manuell

As a prominent part of the Olympic road cycling route, this weekend Box Hill will be a hive of activity. But deep in the undergrowth the wildlife is also stepping into the limelight. Small blue butterflies, glow worms and dormice…acclaimed visual artist Rachel Henson has created six beautiful photographic flicker books to reveal the Hill’s rarest species.

Rachel’s Box Hill Flickers take a walk on the wilder side of the National Trust’s Box Hill. Each Flicker film follows a walk through the stunning landscape and ‘flicking’ the pages animates the short film sequence – reliving a real journey through ancient woodland and wild meadows, and glancing at the human use of the Hill as cyclists power up the zig-zag.

This summer, Box Hill Flickers will be seen by thousands on ‘Live Sites’ – big screens across the UK. Discovering Places, a major project of the Cultural Olympiad, is working with the BBC to showcase these films on the screens from 28 July as part of a programme reflecting the Games, London 2012 Festival and Cultural Olympiad as a whole.

The films have been commissioned by Discovering Places and are sponsored by the National Trust and Natural England. They have original music by Bernd Rest.

Box Hill Flickers artist, Rachel Henson, said: “Over the Games, Box Hill Flickers will take you off the beaten track to explore the true magic of the site – its hidden paths and overwhelming abundance of beautiful flora and fauna.”

A stone’s throw from London, since Victorian times Box Hill has been a coveted place of great natural beauty for city dwellers. It lies within the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is a Special Area of Conservation and is included in a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The hill takes its name from the ancient box woodland found on the steepest west-facing chalk slopes overlooking the River Mole. It is also one of the most popular road cycling destinations in the South of England.

Small Blue by Rachel Henson

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