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Design & Construction of a 260m willow tunnel maze for Sudeley Castle

T he owners of Sudeley Castle engaged with Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to deliver a new visitor attraction comprising a living willow maze based on the ‘Wind in the Willows. In turn Wild Service were contracted to produce a design and specification for the construction of the maze. Following a site visit and careful ground survey a design was produced along with artists impressions of the maze, this was well received and the project was commissioned in late 2014.

Construction started on the maze in January 2015, and was carried out by Wild Service. This involved laying out the site, excavating and constructing the foundations for a woodchip path, installing a small pond and dipping platform and landscaping the surrounds.

The willow maze was then planted using their own willow supply, by GWT staff, carefully forming the tunnels and arches that comprise the maze. A willow sculptor then wove on-site an extremely impressive mole, ratty and badger. In all the willow required 40 tons of roadstone, 80 cubic metres of woodchip and approximately 2500 willow whips. The project was implemented on time and on budget ahead of the grand opening at Easter, when it was well tested by numbers of very excited children.