An 11-year-old schoolgirl from Dorchester is the star of a new short film we’re making. The video will promote the landscape and art of the South Dorset Ridgeway.

Charlotte Gale is an aspiring actor and member of Dorchester Youth Theatre. She plays the central figure in the new video, produced by The Arts Development Company and South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

‘For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to sing and act. I’ve really enjoyed it – my family always say I’m a bit of a drama queen!’ said Charlotte.

Bronkham Hill barrows

‘It’s been fun meeting all the other people in the film, like the archaeologists. They showed me lots of stuff when we were filming by the barrows on Bronkham Hill.’

Charlotte’s work won praise from director Nicola Hawkins. She said: ‘Filming in winter has rewarded us with some stunning light. But it had its challenges for all the crew and especially for our young emerging actor.

‘Charlotte’s cheerfulness and patience has been fantastic at coping with the mud, the snow showers and the biting arctic winds. We’ve been really impressed at how she has taken to the process. Even when we were 200m away directing via radio link as the camera drone buzzed up a valley.’

Freelance TV cameraman Simon Vacher is filming as part of a local creative collaboration with Nicola Hawkins. Simon has filmed wildlife and documentaries around the world.

Land of Bone and Stone

Few realise that 2,500 years ago the Ridgeway was one of the most important ceremonial lands in Europe. Known as The ‘Land of Bone and Stone’, the area stretches nearly 17 miles. It runs from Eggardon Hill in the west to Osmington in the east. In the last few years it has been the focus of intense artistic and environmental work. This activity has been largely supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The short film, to be released in the spring, aims to capture the special atmosphere of the landscape. It includes music by Swanage folk band Ninebarrow, originally commissioned by Artsreach, Dorset’s rural arts charity. There are also shots of the new sculpture at Black Down by artist Amanda Moore. This is part of a project managed by The Arts Development Company.

Here is a short video of the filming taking place on a very cold day in February. Well done Charlotte!