Hestium – click any image for full size
I first wrote about Hestium, the home of our friends Boudicca Amat and Anthony Westburn, back in October 2015. The land forms both their private home and a public venue for exploration and storytelling – among her many talents, Boudicca is a landscape designer, a visual artist and a Voice artist.
More recently the land has been closed while Boudicca redesigned it, so I was delighted when she forwarded an invitation to Caitlyn and I to pay a visit as she and Anthony re-opened for public visits.
For those familiar with Hestium of old, the new design contains much that is familiar whilst offering much that is new. The result is a pleasing mix of feelings: on the one hand, there is a sense of returning to a familiar, loved location, whilst on the other the sense of exploring somewhere new is reborn, allowing us to share the joy of discovery with making their very first trip to Hestium.
A visit starts at the landing point in the north-east corner over the land. Here, just beyond the greeting hanging gently in the air, a set of stone stairs (another things Boudicca and I share is a love of Alex Bader’s landscape kits!), which winds up the cliff to a small collection of buildings designed by Boudicca herself, arranged around a small, fountained square, with a terrace overlooking the beach and water below.
It is here that Hestium’s stories begin. All of the apartments around this little piazza are furnished and apparently occupied. But by whom? And what are their stories? Why have they come here and settled? That is for you to decide: just open your mind, wander the apartments look through windows, peek around corners, down arched alleyways and behind homes and let your imagination take flight.
And if your love of stories runs deeper, and you wish to listen to a good book or tale, then be sure to drop into the Cat and Mouse, the pub in the square. It is here that Boudicca reads in Voice every Tuesday and Thursday between 15:15 and 16:00 SLT.
Make your way through or around the buildings, and you’ll reach the cliffs on the north side of the land, where you can travel over rocky span and under rocky arch to where the rest of Hestium awaits.
Here a path runs along – for those who remember Hestium from its last incarnation – a familiar sandy coast, behind and above which sits Boudicca’s and Anthony’s home (please do respect their privacy) to a little pink cottage charmingly nestled between tall trees, and offering unspoilt views out over the sea. The path ends at the cottage, but walk around it, and you’ll find another leading to the pink windmill nearby, while not too far away sits the ruin of a small house and, up on the rocks and shaded from view, a crypt.
Hestium has always been a marvellous place to visit, and with this new iteration, that tradition continues. Throughout the land there are numerous places to sit and pass the time – the terrace above the landing point, seats and benches scattered across vantage points and nestled on balconies. There are also many small touches to delight the eye – both Caitlyn and I came close to attempting squirrel-napping after seeing a little chap repeatedly raid a bird feeder during our explorations!
Congrats to Boudicca on the design and to her and Anthony on the re-opening.
Hestium: where stories begin (Region rated: Adult; Hestium is requested PG)