Photocall: Children open new living willow play area at Wakehurst
Date: Monday 29 March 2010
Place: Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, near Haywards Heath
Local schoolchildren will be given the VIP treatment as they open a new natural play area at Wakehurst Place, near Haywards Heath, on Monday March 29.
Pupils from St Peter’s School in Ardingly will cut a bow made from natural greenery to declare the imaginative living willow play space officially open.
The youngsters will also have an opportunity to meet basketmaker and willow artist Annemarie O’Sullivan to learn about how she created the structure – and have fun being the first to explore the new play area.
- For more information about Wakehurst Place please click here
Andy Jackson, Head of Wakehurst Place, said: “Our new natural play area is a fantastic addition to Wakehurst and gives our younger visitors all sorts of scope for playing imaginative games.
“As the new feature will be enjoyed by children, we thought pupils from our local village school would be the perfect people to try out the play area and officially open it.”
The natural play feature, set among trees at Kew’s country estate, is designed to inspire the imagination of young visitors. The ‘tents and tunnels’ design incorporates a dome, with linking tunnels and screens, and is inspired by the shape of seeds and seed pods in Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst Place.
The woven willow structure is planted in the ground so that it will become a permanent living feature of the gardens at Wakehurst and will change and grow with the seasons. Some of the willow used has come from the Wakehurst estate, with the rest from Somerset.
Annemarie, from Lewes, is working on the project with her husband Tom. She said: “This is an exciting commission for me and a beautiful space to be working in. Before I started the project I visited the Millennium Seed Bank and my design was inspired by the beautiful forms and whorls of seed pods I saw there.
“The design is intended to create a real sense of movement, with one tunnel leading to another, so spread a sense of fun and excitement.”
The willow structure is the first of a number of new natural play features being planned at Wakehurst and a toddlers’ maze, create from scented plants, will open in the summer. Visitors will also be able to give their feedback on ideas for other play features, which will be on show in a display in the Wakehurst chapel over Easter.
As well as enjoying the new play area, children visiting Wakehurst this Easter will be able to take part in ‘Hello Yellow’ a fun family nature trail over the Easter weekend (April 2 to 5). The trail will take in the sights and scents of spring, from drifts of golden daffodils to primroses and celandines.
After searching for yellow signs of spring around the gardens, children can take part in a craft activity – making and decorating a paper kite, using plants they have spotted as inspiration for the decoration. The trail will run daily from Good Friday to Easter Monday from 11am to 4pm and costs £2, to include a chocolate egg and craft activity. (Normal admission prices apply – accompanied children under 17 are admitted free at Wakehurst.)
Notes to Editors
- For more information call Andy Jackson or Chris Clennett on +44 (0)1444 894 067, Susan Allan on +44 (0)1444 894 055 or the Kew press office on +44 (0)20 8332 5607, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- To download general Wakehurst images please visit http://www.kew.org/press/images/wakehurst. Please contact the Kew Press Office for username and password.
Wakehurst Place is home to formal gardens, natural woodlands, nature reserves and a Sixteenth century mansion; plus Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild seed collection in the world. Wakehurst is located on the B2028 between Ardingly and Turners Hill, West Sussex, RH17 6TN (Junction 10 off the M23) and open daily from 10am, except December 24 and 25. For more details visit the Wakehurst Place Visitor Information page or ring +44 (0)1444 894067.
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