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Willow sculptures for the Lindisfarne Nature Trail

Willow sculptures for the Lindisfarne Nature Trail

A series of eight larger-than-life willow sculptures have taken up residence on points around the Lindisfarne Nature Trail. The sculptures were created by local artist and willow sculptor Anna Turnbull with help from 40 volunteers. The sculptures depict key species of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve, managed by Natural England, and include Brent Geese in flight, a creche of two female Eider ducks and their chicks and a flowering Lindisfarne Helleborine orchid. The project has been delivered by the Heritage Lottery funded Peregrini Lindisfarne Landscape Partnership, the Northumbria Basketry Group, the Lucker and Bamburgh Basketry Group, the Etal Basketry Group and Natural England. The materials for the sculptures were purchased using a grant from Northumberland County Council's Community Chest grant scheme.

The sculptures are situated on the Lindisfarne Nature Trail, a circular walk of approximately 3 miles, that loops from Holy Island village along to the Castle, then follows the former limekiln waggon way to the dunes of The Links. The trail returns to the village via the Straight Lonnen. A sculpture trail guide with information about each species featured is available.

Andrew Craggs, Senior Manager of the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve (NNR), said “The National Nature Reserve was set up to protect the fantastic wildlife that depends upon the rich resources found here, and part of our work is to enable people to access this unique natural heritage. This project introduces a handful of the huge range of animals, insects and plants found on the Reserve in a subtle and engaging way, with the aim of encouraging visitors to the Reserve to want to find out more”.

Anna Turnbull, willow sculptor based at Biteabout near Lowick added “The idea of the willow sculpture trail was to get people out into the landscape. The Nature Trail is a short walk that takes in a variety of different habitats, and only takes about an hour and half to complete. We want people to walk to the Castle but then keep going to experience more! The sculptures will be in situ for the warmer months of the year, when Holy Island is at its busiest.”

Introductory basketry classes with the Northumbria Basketry Group and Lucker and Bamburgh Basketry Group were run alongside the willow sculpture workshops. Both classes and workshops were part of the Peregrini Lindisfarne project to celebrate and share the heritage of the landscape. The project has been supported by a £1,375,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), made possible by National Lottery players. Ivor Crowther, Head of HLF North East, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Peregrini Landscape Partnership is having a real impact on the heritage of the Island of Lindisfarne – from its role as a haven for wildlife to its archaeological significance as demonstrated by recent discoveries on the Heugh. As well as forging some fantastic partnerships, this scheme is putting local people at the heart of their landscape, whether through art, traditional skills or taking part in excavations. We look forward to seeing the project continue to succeed.”

The sculptures will be in situ until the end of October, after which they will be taken down for winter storage at Lindisfarne NNR’s headquarters at Beal. They will be re-erected in Spring 2018.

The Nature Trail starts at the Window on the Wild on the road to the Castle, east of Holy Island Village. Copies of the sculpture trail guide will be available from the Lindisfarne Heritage Centre, Holy Island Post Office, Berwick and Alnwick Visitor Information Centres from the 16th of September. A digital copy can be downloaded from

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