A shallow waterway in a field.

Animated Landscapes

Creatively shaping environmental resilience

Puppets with Guts and Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme present Animated Landscapes, a diverse programme of workshops and events happening across the Darent Valley in Kent from May-June 2022 that encourages communities to discover new ways of animating and interpreting their local landscape.

From Sevenoaks to Dartford, the chalk riverbeds, lavender fields and ancient woodlands of the Darent Valley tell an inspiring story of adaptability and resilience. Learn what a healthy landscape is and the challenges it faces through one of our workshops or hear stories of the plants, trees and rivers around you from our giant Caretaker of the Landscape, Gnomus.


Drawing on two years of conversations, field trips and research with cultural geographers, environmentalists and artists, get involved both online and in-person with this unique celebration of the Darent Valley’s stunning natural heritage. If our landscapes could speak, what stories would they tell?

Animated Landscapes was developed by Puppets with Guts, commissioned by Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme as part of its Inspired Palmer Landscapes project, and supported by Kent Downs AONB, Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.


ReFRAME Workshop

Dates: May – June 2022

Location: Various

What colours, shapes and textures can be found in the Darent Valley landscape? Why is the landscape the colour that it is and why does it change? What can we learn by looking more closely at the environment in which we live?

Discover your local landscape’s colour palette in this free workshop, created for adults in the Darent Valley area. Learn from a professional artist how to ReFRAME your environment and create your very own Darent Valley picture frame.

Led by artist and geographer Elaine Hartley, you’ll watch informative videos, partake in outdoor activities, and develop reflective and creative ideas.

The workshop is 2-3 hours long and will be led in person.

Pick up your free ReFRAME craft pack from the Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme office in Shoreham.

A person wearing a baseball cap painting 'camouflage' patterns on to a white cardboard frame.

What The River Says and Sings Workshop

Dates: May – June 2022

Location: Online

What The River Says and Sings workshop is a unique opportunity to explore and understand more about the local river environment through creating your own artistic impression of the River Darent using words, poetry, and song. Throughout the workshop you will observe a river’s different qualities, to determine whether or not it is a healthy river, and what can influence this.


Gnomus: Caretaker of the Earth

Dates: 28 & 29 May 2022

Location: Saturday – Otford Fete, Otford Recreation Grounds, Sunday – The Great Big Platinum Jubilee Party for Kids, Dartford Central Park

Gather round! Gnomus, the gigantic Caretaker of the Earth, has awoken from his slumber deep in the hills of the Darent Valley. Come listen to his stories about how you can take care of the plants, trees and rivers that make up your home. Gnomus is a big puppet who performs throughout the day to families. He most recently performed at Stonehenge and has also made appearances at Kew Gardens and Leonardslee Enchanted. Recommended for ages 6+.

Recommended for ages 6+

Gnomus, a large puppet of a giant with grey skin, a large nose and pointed, elfin ears, supported by several puppeteers in front of a crowd (whose heads are visible at the bottom of frame). He is facing and reaching out to another performer in blue dungarees. Behind them is a steep cliff face with numerous trees growing on top of/in front of it, so the background is mostly bright green.

ReFRAME Art Installation: Big Picture Frames

Dates: 28 & 29 May 2022

Location: Saturday – Otford Fete, Otford Recreation Grounds, Sunday – The Great Big Platinum Jubilee Party for Kids, Dartford Central Park

As spring turns to summer in the Darent Valley, three Big Picture Frames will appear in the landscape…

Venture out to our ReFrame installations, a series of giant picture frames embedded in outdoor spaces across the Darent Valley. Grab a ReFRAME pack, join our ReFRAME workshop and learn how to explore the intricate health and geography of your local landscape through colour.

A river, with bright green banks, and several geese near/in it. Edited into the image is a white rectangle, that frames an 'image within the image' of a specific bit of the river and bank, plus waterfowl.

Animated Landscapes Book Club

If you’re interested in reading more about landscapes, arts and the environment, check out our Animated Landscapes Book Club!

Six book covers. They are for the following books, which are detailed in the page below the image, among others: 'How To Read Water', 'Uncommon Ground', 'The Compleat Angler', 'Waterlog', 'Arts Of Living On A Damaged Planet', and 'Landmarks'.

Living Archive

Find creative contributions from communities in the Animated Landscapes digital Living Archive that creatively animates healthy ecologic relationships between people & their local landscape.

About Us

Puppets with Guts make extraordinary big puppets, animating public spaces with spectacular shows that illuminate contemporary society. From greenfield festivals and urban parades, to heritage attractions and town halls, botanic gardens, forests, theatres and film sets, our shows excel at transforming spaces with their audacious and subversive style of performance.

Darent Valley Landscape Partnership Scheme is an exciting large-scale partnership, working to conserve and enhance the distinctive heritage landscapes of the Darent Valley and to connect people to the Valley to help us conserve it for the future.

Thanks to Arts Council England for their generous support.