Having recently moved to North Devon, we are planning a community-responsive arts project on the Hartland Peninsular. This is an extraordinary place is a part of the North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), whose distinctive character and natural beauty are safeguarded for national interest.
This project has the working title of Wrecks and Refuge – taking inspiration from the craggy coast that has, in days gone by, done for many a ship while providing shelter for an isolated rural community.
We will be talking to people who live here about what they think and feel about the place today, its history and myths. What are the joys and challenges in living in a small rural community today?
We’d like to know more about ‘Cruel Copinger,’ a notorious smuggler who was washed up on the coast and came to marry a local woman and lived close to Hartland Village and whose story became mythologised. Copinger was a ‘stranger’, washed up on the coast and the stories about him are at once heroic and frightening. What’s the legacy of this kind of myth making? Is this place still afraid of strangers? Or is it accepting of the tide of globalisation, which allows for the growth of tourism in the area?