A wicker wildlife willow weaving workshop

One of our key focuses on the Skyline at the moment is a bit of a revamp in the Woodland Play Area. To our visitors’ delight, we have finally gotten the much loved and well-missed swing fixed and back in action and the reconstruction of the seesaw is in process.


Rob testing out the new swing in the Woodland Play Area

We have talked about other ways of jazzing up the Play Area to refresh the space a little and decided, amongst other things, to try to create some wicker woodland creatures to hang or mount decoratively amongst the trees around the winding woodland walk.

And so, after slogging away at our path and step building on Little Solsbury Hill last week (see In pictures: Path and step building at Little Solsbury Hill), most of the rangers spent a much more relaxed day last Friday harvesting willow coppice from around the serpentine pond at Prior Park and then hanging out together in the sunny yard chatting and muddling our way through a self-taught session learning how to weave wicker creatures.


Experimental willow weaving

Alice the gardener and one of the garden volunteers, Clare, have had some experience with weaving willow before – Alice’s giant yellow meadow ant can be seen guarding the gated entrance to Prior Park from Rainbow Wood Fields at the top of the Priory path – and so they were able to provide us with some guidance and ideas. Otherwise, we mostly just played about with the willow, exploring the ways in which it can be used and discovering its limitations.

It was a surprisingly successful first attempt at making wicker animals. I think we all pretty much just started off by making random shapes with the willow and then trying to work out what we could turn them into. We ended up with some fantastic pieces, all demonstrating very different styles and techniques and in varying degrees of completion; a ladybird, a couple of butterflies, a snail, and the beginnings of a wasp of my own creation.


My wasp at the end of our workshop day

I have since spent my spare moments at the yard continuing to work on my wasp, giving it wings and antennae and providing it with more structural stability – I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with how they’ve all turned out. I really hope we get time to make more as I think they will add a lot to the aesthetics of the Woodland Play Area.




  1. Clare Pooley · April 20, 2017

    I am very impressed by your wasp! I also was pleased to see that it is necessary for rangers to test the swings before letting the children loose on them! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • ntbathskyline · April 22, 2017

      Haha, yes of course! We test all of our equipment before the public use them and it means we get some play time too 😉 we’ve been eager to get back out there and have another go – it really is a great swing and the kids absolutely love it.
      Thanks very much for your compliments. We’re hopefully going to be having another weaving session soon so I’m trying to think of some more ideas for creatures we can make.. .any suggestions? I was thinking maybe an ant or a spider. Thanks for reading Clare. Sending my regards your way 🙂


      • Clare Pooley · April 22, 2017

        A spider sounds like a good idea. I can’t think at the moment of anything else that would be recognisable and fairly easy to do!
        Best wishes, Clare 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • ntbathskyline · April 22, 2017

        I know, it’s difficult. I’d love to try and make a squirrel but I think that’s far to adept for me! It might have to be a longer term goal 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clare Pooley · April 22, 2017

        A good idea but you’d have to have a practice run first!

        Liked by 1 person

      • ntbathskyline · April 22, 2017

        Definitely! I’m going to give it a go and see what happens… 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Clare Pooley · April 22, 2017


        Liked by 1 person

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