The First Cut – Heather cutting on Ilkley Moor

As part of her PhD practice, Filippa Dobson created a heather cup and ring mark on Ilkley Moor.

‘The First Cut’, which took place on 19th September, is a land art response to the positive and negative impact of fire within the landscape environment of Ilkley Moor, which saw head game-keeper, Simon Nelson create a cup and ring mark into the heather using a tractor and flail mower.

The cup and ring mark, which is based on ancient Neolithic symbol incised onto rocks by the Neolithic people who inhabited Ilkley Moor 4000 to 5000 years ago, is a semi-permanent piece of public land art visible from a number of vantage points.

The First Cut represents the first cutting of the heather since the fire. By cutting the heather at different heights the seeds within the heather ‘brash’ will generate new growth creating a more diverse environment for ground nesting birds.

Correlating this public land art with Neolithic rock art, Filippa aims to create a visible link between an ancient past and a contemporary community who work and walk on the moor.

A film of the cutting of the heather by Clare Charney will be shown at the Ilkley Art Trail and Literature Festival on 9 October. The film will also be shown as part of Filippa’s final PhD exhibition in December 2016 within the School of Design.