Cambridgeshire's wild dome...
By contributor Graham Hughes
London has its O2 Dome on the banks of the Thames but Cambridgeshire now has a new dome, and a green one at that, on the edge of the Fens as Graham Hughes reports.
One of Cambridgeshire's most visited conservation areas has taken on a new look.
The National Trust's centre at Anglesey Abbey near Cambridge has been celebrating the opening of a rather strange new structure called the 'Dreaming Dome'.
It is actually a living structure with an almond tree at its heart and willow and hazel branches creating its shape. At its centre is a circle of cut logs for visitors to sit and dream on!
The whole project has been created by team work that involved several Cambridgeshire organisations, National Trust specialists, an environmental artist and was funded by Children in Need.
The artist at the centre of the scheme is Loukas Morley. His dream was to create a permanent space for visitors to Anglesey Abbey to unwind. The result is the dome sitting in a 25 acre woodland called Hoe Fen Wildlife Discovery area.
The work was carried out by Morley with help from children, families and staff from the Croft Child and Family Unit, an NHS residential service for children with mental health problems and their families, and the Cambridgeshire organisation Arts and Minds which promotes and supports access to the arts for mental health users and learning disabled people.
Loukas says: "The idea is to create a sustainable project where volunteers can do the work by themselves. It was easy for children and their parents from The Croft to work together on scheme. They've all created something natural and they can all come back and see and enjoy it at anytime.
"The idea for the Dreaming Dome is that the older it gets the growth is going to get denser. Eventually there will be a chimney effect caused by the growth of the shoots. Next year it will look completely different."
The whole project started after Richard Todd, the head gardener at Anglesey Abbey, admitted that he had always had a dream that the Hoe Fen area could be used for some natural art. He's delighted with the finished project: "I'm really excited at what Loukas and his 50 or so volunteers have achieved. It's great to see the potential of the Dreaming Dome being used to the full."
Most of the work was carried out in the February half term and again in the Easter holidays. It is now open to all visitors to Anglesey Abbey.
last updated: 12/06/2009 at 11:10
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