The Great Exeter Garden Quest

The Great Exeter Garden Quest

Welcome, traveller!

You are an adventurous photographer, on a quest to discover Exeter's green spaces and the secrets they hold in plain sight. During your journey, you will uncover clues to the origin of the city's gardens and parks, as well as discover the connections they hold with objects from the collection of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter's repository of cultural treasures.

Along the way, you will be asked to look at your surroundings with a photographer's eye, to uncover patterns and details hidden to those who do not look closely enough. On each stop along the quest, there is a photographic challenge, which you can complete and upload using your smartphone or tablet's camera. The results of your unique way of looking are added to an online gallery with contributions by other players like yourself. What will your interpretation be?

The quest takes between one hour, and one and a half hours. The terrain covered is even, except for the optional bonus level. You will discover objects from the museum’s collection and are asked to complete challenges inspired by those artefacts, during which you will collect specific visual scenes from each stop, creating a group of photographs that will reflect your own unique and personal vision.

Continue

 

The Great Exeter Garden Quest Map

Start your Quest!

Start your Quest!Designed by John Hayward, the construction of RAMM's building was started in 1865. Its distinctive appearance owes much to the use of local stones and other building materials

Start your Quest!
(Challenge 1 of 7)

Your quest begins at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter's repository of cultural and artistic treasures. The secrets and curiosities this building hides inside its walls will make themselves known to you as you go along this journey. For now, it is time to take the first step in your quest.

From RAMM's garden reception, step outside and walk towards the Exeter Phoenix building. Follow the curve of the street and continue onto Upper Paul Street. Once you reach Queen Street, turn left. Keep going until you cross the busy High Street, and step to the other side of that road, onto the narrow street continuing from Queen Street, and keep going until you pass the (allegedly) haunted Ship Inn, a favourite of Sir Francis Drake. You will find yourself at the edge of your first stop: the Cathedral Green.

Once you have found your way to the Cathedral Green, swipe left or click the arrow to access the first challenge.

Cathedral Green

Cathedral Green“Exeter Cathedral” (1839-1841) by William Spreat.

Cathedral Green
(Challenge 2 of 7)

One of the city's most iconic buildings, the nearly one thousand years-old Exeter's Cathedral of St. Peter can be seen for miles from both within and around the city.

The Cathedral Close, the area that surrounds the building, has changed in appearance throughout the years, and is now home to one of the most used and best loved green spaces in Exeter, as well as one of the most recognizable. Did you know that it was from here that Jonathan Harker, the protagonist of the novel Dracula, started his trip to Transylvania? With such a rich history, it is perhaps no surprise that the Cathedral appears in many illustrations, drawings, and paintings within RAMM's collection.

Your first challenge is to take a photo of the Cathedral Green, in which the Cathedral appears in some way. For example, it may appear in the background, in the corner of the photo, or as a shadow.

Rougemont Gardens

Rougemont GardensGrey (Sciurus carolinensis, from Exeter) and red (Sciurus vulgaris, British, from the collection of Miss Lethbridge of Launceston, Cornwall) squirrels, on view at RAMM.

Rougemont Gardens
(Challenge 3 of 7)

It's time to backtrack your steps, back to your entry point to Cathedral Close, and walk towards the Princesshay area. While there, resist the temptation to stop for a quick shopping spree, and turn left towards High Street. Eventually, on your left side, you will find McGahey's Coffee Shop, and the Pret A Manger opposite that; the street between them is the one to which you must venture to next. Keep walking up Castle Street, paying attention to your left-hand side, until you see the stony archways that mark the entrance to Rougemont Gardens.

The most distinctive feature of Rougemont Gardens is its great grassy ditch, a remnant of the area's military past. Converted to a garden during the 18th century, the ditch was an important part of the defences of Rougemont Castle, which was built nearly one thousand years ago by William the Conqueror, during the Norman conquest of England. The garden is now a public space well loved by the city's residents, as well as by the more permanent residents in the gardens: the squirrels.

While the native species to Devon, the red squirrel, is now rarely seen, the grey squirrel, who came from North America, is a common sight in Exeter's green spaces. The museum has a specimen of each species on display.

Your challenge is to find and photograph one of these furry Exeter residents. If you're having trouble finding one, look around you and take a photo of the tree where you think it's most likely that these squirrels live.

Northernhay Gardens

Northernhay GardensMosaic fragment from the Roman legionary bath-house, Cathedral Close, Exeter (43-410).

Northernhay Gardens
(Challenge 4 of 7)

Right next to Rougemont Gardens, you can find Northernhay Gardens. Find your way back to the path that circles the grassy ditch, towards and through the archway passage in the Roman wall, and you will find yourself at your next destination.

The Roman wall is one of the most interesting features of this space. The earliest surviving part of the city wall, it is a lasting testament to how old the city really is. Traces of this Roman presence can be found all through the city centre; for example, near the Cathedral, where our quest started, there used to a bath-house, a meeting place for the Roman soldiers. In its collection, RAMM has many artefacts that survived from our Roman ancestors' time, many of which were found in and around Exeter, including decorative fragments from the bath-house.

Northernhay Gardens is also home to a memorial to the dead of the First World War, a group of five symbolic bronze statues surrounding a stone pedestal, built in 1923. Around the memorial, you will find a variety specimens of plants and flowers, which will look different depending on the season that you're visiting in.

Your mission is to create a photograph that captures the colours and textures of the natural life around you. Will you focus on flowers, trees, or shrubs? Will you capture a textural detail in macro, or the play of different colours from afar?

Bury Meadow Park

Bury Meadow ParkCarriage parasols (1860s, made by Fox and Sons and Sangsters, respectively) on view at RAMM. Since sun-burned complexions were frowned upon for young ladies, parasols were used to shade the skin while

Bury Meadow Park
(Challenge 5 of 7)

From the War Memorial, exit Northernhay Gardens to Queen Street, and turn right. Pass Exeter's Central Station, towards the roundabout with Miles' Clocktower. Cross the roundabout towards New North Road, and after a while, you will notice the gated entrance to a park on your left.

You are now in Bury Meadow Park, which served as a burial ground for victims of the Exeter cholera outbreak of 1832. Despite this unfortunate origin, the park is now a thriving site of community recreation, with a well-used children's playground and plenty of seating areas for the many students, families, and group of friends who frequent the space.

Your mission is to collect photographic evidence of human presence against the natural backdrop of the park. For example, the photo can be a portrait, or include a built structure, or an object that someone left behind.

Bonus: University

Bonus: University“Figure in a Landscape (Zennor)” (1966) by Barbara Hepworth.

Bonus: University
(Challenge 6 of 7)

BONUS LEVEL: This challenge is optional. You can choose to do it if you feel up to the walk uphill across the University grounds, which will add about 30 minutes to the quest. Otherwise, find your way back to the museum, to the next and final challenge.

Exit Bury Meadow Park through the same gate you used to enter, and turn right. Keep going until you pass The Imperial pub on your left. After you leave the pub behind, take a right turn towards Streatham Drive, cross the street, and continue along it until you see you have reached the University of Exeter Streatham Campus. You will know you are in the right place when you see a stone inscribed with “University of Exeter". Once you do, turn left, climbing the path until you find another road on your right, the Queen's Drive. Keep going. Your destination is the Queen's Building, and as you climb, remember to take a peek at the grounds to your left. The campus is full of surprises.

On the lawn in front of the Queen's Building, you will find “Figure for Landscape” (1960), one of the Barbara Hepworth sculptures on campus. The famous artist created an abstract sculpture of a mother and a child embracing specifically for the university campus, blending the work artfully into the natural and built landscape around it. RAMM also has a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in its collection, made in the same signature style that's made Hepworth an internationally celebrated artist.

Your challenge is to take a photo using the sculpture in a creative way. The abstract shapes can act as a frame for the landscape, or you can explore the way the shapes and textures play with and against the natural backdrop.

End Quest: RAMM

End Quest: RAMMPrince Albert decorated for Naturally Inspired in 2016

End Quest: RAMM
(Challenge 7 of 7)

Congratulations! You have reached the end of your quest. You have braved the weather and the city streets, you have fulfilled the challenges, and found your way through the adventure. You are now ready to step into the museum and discover the wonders it holds. You can explore the museum to find the objects you discovered along the way, and visit the galleries.

After your journey, you have returned with a different perspective, an eye for detail, and photographic skills that will help you view the exhibits in a different way. No longer just a visitor, you are now a creator, on a par with the artists whose work is on show.

Your final challenge is to visit the museum galleries and take a photo of an object or exhibit related to nature.

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My The Great Exeter Garden Quest Notes

The Great Exeter Garden Quest

The Great Exeter Garden Quest

Welcome, traveller!

You are an adventurous photographer, on a quest to discover Exeter's green spaces and the secrets they hold in plain sight. During your journey, you will uncover clues to the origin of the city's gardens and parks, as well as discover the connections they hold with objects from the collection of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter's repository of cultural treasures.

Along the way, you will be asked to look at your surroundings with a photographer's eye, to uncover patterns and details hidden to those who do not look closely enough. On each stop along the quest, there is a photographic challenge, which you can complete and upload using your smartphone or tablet's camera. The results of your unique way of looking are added to an online gallery with contributions by other players like yourself. What will your interpretation be?

The quest takes between one hour, and one and a half hours. The terrain covered is even, except for the optional bonus level. You will discover objects from the museum’s collection and are asked to complete challenges inspired by those artefacts, during which you will collect specific visual scenes from each stop, creating a group of photographs that will reflect your own unique and personal vision.

This quest is based on Exeter's public gardens and was built by RAMM and the University of Exeter to accompany the museum's 2016 nature-focused program of events and exhibitions.

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