In late 2008, Autumn Richardson & Richard Skelton first encountered the landscape of Ulpha, in south-west Cumbria, UK. They were travelling along the Lake District’s lonelier roads on route to Scotland, through the backcountry between the Irish sea and the high peaks of Great Gable and Scafell – a region of crags and scars, acres of bracken, grassland and bogs, scattered with remnants of prehistoric settlements. They returned to the area in 2009, spending four months writing and recording sense impressions of the landscape, whilst researching its natural history and toponymy. The results of these endeavours were published in early 2011, as a series of texts, artefacts and musical recordings entitled Wolf Notes.

In late 2011 the artists returned to Cumbria once more, retracing their earlier footsteps and uncovering new pathways, contours, lines of thought and melody. Two years later, their accumulated experiences of the landscape have been distilled into a new collection of musical compositions, and a further series of texts and artefacts. The new work is particularly informed by the work of ecologists and palynologists, who, by analysing the occurrence of pollen in sediment layers, are able to construct an incredibly rich and profoundly beautiful narrative of plant succession over millennia, detailing the plant genera that slowly repopulated the post-glacial wasteland, eventually forming vast expanses of woodland before the arrival of early human settlers.

The sense created by these ecological records is of an environment in constant flux, perpetually in transition from one state to another. They also act as a reminder that the present state of the landscape is an accretion of its own pasts, deposited in skin-like layers, each sloughed in the process of transformation. The landscape therefore appears, not as a singular entity, but a multiplicity of different incarnations, each successively overlaid on the last.

It is this idea of multiplicity that inspired Autumn and Richard to transform the music of Wolf Notes – to reveal another hidden landscape within its own harmonic strata. Hence Succession is drawn entirely from the recordings the duo first made on visiting Ulpha, in early 2009. The process of recovering these fragments and threading them into song is analogous to the work of palynologists, reconstructing images of past landscape ecologies from the layers of sediment. It is a kind of archaeology, a work of archivism.

Taken together, the music of Succession and the accompanying publications constitute a sustained engagement with a particular landscape, and a deepening of the work started with Wolf Notes.

Succession is available as a music CD, and a special edition, which includes the pamphlets Relics, Wolfhou, and the otherwise unavailable A List of Probable Flora.

It is published by Corbel Stone Press on the 16th of September, 2013.

Relics / That Which Takes Hold

 was exhibited at the Hilltown New Music Festival, Co. Westmeath, Ireland, in July.

Autumn & Richard were also commissioned to produce a site-specific work. The resulting piece, That Which Takes Hold, took the form of a 'temporary nature reserve', audio installation and text about the species of flora in the Castle Keep - one of the buildings on the Hilltown estate. More info here.

Relics (Assemblage)

Assemblage: Antique wooden box; 2 x glass phials of oak bark; oak leaf; 2 x glass phials of pine bark; 3 sections of hazel branch; birch leaf; all found items.

Relics (Pamphlet)

A Richardson & R Skelton

A further installment in a series of works which began with Wolf Notes (2011), concerning the upland environment around Devoke Water in south-west Cumbria, UK. In the 1960s, samples from Devoke Water were taken and the embedded pollen grains were analysed, uncovering a fascinating narrative of plant succession over several millennia.

Eleven tree genera were identified in a paper published by Winifred Pennington. The material presented in Relics is a form of salvage; a dredging of the linguistic record for traces of these lost genera. Each of the eleven trees is visually represented by a trunk cross-section: the innermost ring comprising its earliest linguistic form and the outermost its modern-day equivalent.

24pp pamphlet
Edition of 500

Forthcoming via Corbel Stone Press.


Relics: exploring the pre-historic pollen record around Devoke Water, Cumbria. Several species of tree are represented by their historical word-forms, in a "tree-ring" diagram: the oldest known (or hypothesised) words at its heart, with each "growth" signifying a subsequent language epoch*, culminating in modern English.

* It should perhaps be noted that Old Norse and Old English were virtually concurrent.


Exhibiting new work at the Bergen Kunsthall, Norway, March 7th:

Relics, a series of texts representing the trees that populated the deforested uplands around Devoke Water, Cumbria, England, as recorded in the pre-historic pollen record. Each tree is signified by some of its older and obscure word-forms, salvaged from dialect glossaries and etymological dictionaries.

Ulpha Wheel

Wheel showing a partial toponymic history of Ulpha, encircling a list of animal names derived from specific place-names within its catchment.

A List of Probable Flora

A list of probable flora for the landscape around Devoke Water, Ulpha & Birker Fell, Cumbria, UK.

The Flowering Rock

Texts written for the Burren, on the west coast of Ireland - collected within Field Notes (Volume One).

140 x 216mm
Softcover {perfect-bound}
ISBN: 978-0-9572121-0-7
Edition of 500

Wolf Notes


Wolf Notes. Ulpha, Cumbria.
Assemblage: Antique wooden box; glass apothecary jars of found flora and incense; 26 texts printed on watercolour card; CD of music; found items (small stones, Bog myrtle).

Found Flora / Pigments of Ulpha

Found Flora: Glass apothecary jars containing Yarrow, Bog myrtle, Heather and various grasses.
Pigments of Ulpha: Glass phials containing seeds from various grasses.

Wolf Notes (Poetry Edition)

Text and music for the landscape, place-names, flora and fauna of Ulpha, in Cumbria, northern England.

16pp + 45-minute music download
130 x 210mm
Letterpressed softcover {handsewn}
Burgundy 350gsm card / vellum laid paper
Edition of 250

Wolf Notes (Folio Edition)

Text and music for the landscape, place-names, flora and fauna of Ulpha, in Cumbria, northern England. Accompanied by a phial of hand-blended ritual incense incorporating grasses collected from the region around Devoke Water.

34pp / 46pp + 45-minute music CDR
150 x 210mm
Letterpressed folder
2 x softcover pamphlets with coverbands {handsewn}
Wrapped in fine cloth
Each exemplar dedicated after a place-name
Edition of 44


Strata: text on watercolour paper.
The Burren, Ireland.

Typography of the Shore

Typography of the Shore. Tentsmuir Beach, Scotland.
Assemblage: Antique wooden box, driftwood, 12pp hand-sewn poetry pamphlet.