In July we began work on a whole new type of labyrinth – a 3-lobed shamrock shaped design. The labyrinth will be part of a Prayer Garden in the grounds of St. Joseph and St. Teresa Primary School, in Wells, Somerset.
The design was created by one of the teachers. It is based on the idea that the shamrock is sometimes used as a symbol of the Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit – and thus an expression of a central tenet of Christian belief.
The bulk of the work to date has been done by the school Gardening Club, which I run one day a week at the school. In the last couple of weeks, pupils from different classes have come out to work on the labyrinth, a half hour at a time. This has enabled every child in the school to work on the labyrinth whilst causing minimum disruption to other activities.
The walls of the labyrinth are made of 25cm log rolls that are dug into the ground to two thirds of their height. This provides for stability and much reduces hazard should a child fall. The gap in-between is covered with a weed barrier. In the autumn the labyrinth ‘wall’ will be finished of by being covered with soft, white Costwold Stone chippings. During the autumn a variety of plants with be inserted. These will themed on the bible. Whether the Genesis apple tree appears has yet to be decided! The plants and tubs are being donated and we already have our first gift – 5 miniature olive trees, representing the 5 children that have passed through the school from one family.
We will post pictures of the finished labyrinth in the autumn.
Labyrinths at the Green Gathering
Once again, we were invited to make a temporary labyrinth in the Children’s Field at the Green Gathering, Chepstow. The labyrinth is made out of brightly coloured rope, pegged to the ground and surrounded with a decorated willow enclosure. All the work is done by children.
We struggled a bit this year as the grass was rather high, making it difficult to see the rope labyrinth at any distance. We have vowed to take a strimmer next year! Rope labyrinths take about 2 hours to put down for an individual – it takes about 300 steel tent pegs to pin the ropes to the ground. Rope Labyrinth Kits are easily put together and my Outdoor Learning book tells you how.
Also at the Green Gathering was a beautiful temporary labyrinth made out of sticks. This was a large labyrinth built under the amazing branches of an ancient oak. Here the materials come for free – but the result is spectacular and fantastic to walk. A stick labyrinth does take some maintenance, however. We saw a young boy of about 5 years of age happily re-arranging the sticks late one evening. Something of a maze headache for late night revellers attempting to walk the labyrinth by candlelight!
Chris Trwoga, August 2014