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Goldfield Infants' & Nursery School

Building Learning Power   Together!

A Day of Art - Constructing a Living Willow Tunnel & Dome

As promised Anita did return to Goldfield in the Easter break to finish the tunnel and dome. It looks AMAZING! Please scroll down to view the latest photographs and to see what fun we hade joining in the construction.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Dome
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Look, leaves are already beginning to grow on the living willow! Please keep watching to see how the tunnel and dome change over the next few weeks.

 

Constructing the Living Willow Tunnel & Dome

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

First of all let's meet our willow structure experts.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Expert

Anita Osborne

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Expert

Julie Hopton

 

The willow we are using for the tunnel and dome has been locally sourced from Manor Farm in Haddenham just 35 miles away. This lattice structure will be made up of upright, diagonal and horizontal pieces of willow. Anita and Julie cut a variety of willow a few weeks ago, tall and strong for the uprights, shorter, thinner willow for the diagonals and horizontals. The shorter lengths vary in colour red, green and yellow.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Our living willow tunnel and dome is sited in the wild area of the nature trail at the bottom of the field. The ground was prepared last week by cutting away the grass turf in the shape required. All of the turf was placed into a mound to create a minibeast habitat (a great place for a minibeast hunt in the future, infact some minibeasts have already moved in.)

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Grass Root Mound Photograph of Grass Mound

Everyone at school today will play a part in the construction of the willow tunnel and dome. Let's start with the first group.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Take a close look at a turf of grass.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

The grass roots are covered in soil. When these were dug you could see lots of minibeast and minibeasts eggs.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Turn the turf over and you can see the grass.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

When we plant the willow today we want it to grow roots just like the grass.

Photograph of Willow

You can already see that this willow is living even though it has no roots.

Photograph of Willow

Take a closer look and you can see pussy willow growing.

Phoitograph of Willow Tunnel

Before planting can begin all of the small willow marking out the area must be removed.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Living willow planting tools look similar to a spade. They are perfect for making a hole in the ground at the right depth for the willow leaving just enough room around the outside for some compost. The willow will definitely want to grow roots in these conditions.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

 

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

We need to make a hole every 20cms.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Some groups were preparing the willow for planting by making a fresh cut at the very end. This helps the willow to grow roots.

Take home the piece you have cut off. Make a fresh cut at the end and put it in water and you will be able to watch the roots grow. Or plant it in your garden so that you can grow your own willow.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

A very special person plants the very first piece of willow at the beginning of the Goldfield Willow Tunnel and Dome.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Mrs Stevens came to see how we were getting on!

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

The next three groups continue to make holes for the willow, make fresh cuts to encourage the roots to grow and to plant the tall uprights for the tunnel.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Photograph of a Worm

But not before a surprise guest puts in an appearance!

Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

See how clever the children have been to plant a willow in every other hole. The planting matches exactly on the opposite side.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

The holes in between will be for the diagonals.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photogaph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Work continues after the lunch break. The rest of the horizontal willows are cut and planted. The children learn how to make willow circles. These could be used for windows in the final structure.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph opf Willow Tunnel Photograph of Wiloow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel

All of the holes are counted and doubled to work out how much willow will be needed for the diagonals. A plait is made on both sides of the beginning and end of the tunnel, then the horizontal weave can begin.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Wiloow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Back in the classroom the children have another chance to make a willow circle.

Meanwhile, outside the gaps around the willow uprights are filled with compost. Later this will be covered with bark to protect the roots and stop the weeds growing.

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

Look closely....

Photograph of Willow Tunnel

....can you see how the diagonals are being weaved infront and behind the uprights?

Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel It's the end of school and the children go home but Anita and Julie continue working. There are hundreds and hundreds of knots that need to be tied to bring the willow together to form the tunnel and dome.
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Wiloow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Wiloow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel Photograph of Willow Tunnel
Photograph of Willow Tunnel At 6.00 pm it's time to go home. Anita will return during the Easter Break to complete the tunnel and dome.

 

A huge Animated Thank You to Anita, Julie and our wonderful team of volunteer helpers. Without you we could not have managed this amazing project! We cannot wait to watch our living willow tunnel and dome grow over the next few months and to see how it changes. Please keep watching for all the latest photographs!

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Photograph of a Buttercup

Christchurch Road, Tring, Hertfordshire HP23 4EE

Tel: 01442 823551 Email: admin@goldfield.herts.sch.uk

Headteacher: Mrs Debora Stevens