Abbotsbury Swannery is the only place in the world where you are able to walk through the heart of a colony of nesting Mute Swans, spread over a site of some 25 acres and is a popular tourist attraction for visitors to Dorset.
I was approached by the Swannery to put forward ideas on a maze to add to the attraction situated in a 2 acre paddock adjacent to the entrance. Thoughts were of using willow as hedging to define pathways as it grows very well on the edge of the Fleet. The object was to create an educational attraction and activity to further engage people of all ages….whilst getting lost!
As the images show, the scheme was a swan whilst viewed from the air incorporating many pathways and dead ends all separated by 1.5m high woven willow hedges. Open spaces were left for seating and the positioning of nature trail clues, a large log from a fallen oak was placed as the eye. In the middle of the maze a large “egg” shape structure was woven as a reference point and also as an objective to find. . 5 oval shapes were also woven underneath the swan to signify eggs, 5 being the average number swans lay. The eggs were designed with access to the inside so that children in particular could play and explore.
The “beak” of the swan was designed as a woven diminishing tunnel structure using a yellow stemmed willow variety to match the colour of the real thing. The Maze was opened by local MP Sir Oliver Letwin in the presence of the Hon Charlotte Townshend.
Google maps view of the maze - apparently it is the only other man-made structure viewable from space! Click on the image to view it in Google Maps.