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Weaving With Willow

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People and the DALES

Clapham

A group from Settle Resource Centre delved into a willow wonderland on the edge of Clapham for a hands-on day out as part of the People and the DALES project. The group were accompanied by support workers and enjoyed an outdoor learning experience in a stimulating new setting.

‘People and the DALES’ encourages people from disadvantaged and urban backgrounds to experience the Dales through activities such as walks, farm visits, conservation work and crafts.

The visit began with a short walk through the wild forest garden, learning about the wild plants, fruits and vegetables being grown, stopping off to rest in the unusual Uzbek Yurt – another new experience - and to learn from Wayne about the construction techniques of these traditional wood lattice-framed dwellings.

The group then explored the living labyrinth at the end of the garden – a twisting pathway made of trees and shrubs which represents the journey of life. Sue demonstrated how to work with the flexible, fast-growing willow shoots and encouraged the group to help with the on-going task of maintaining the pathways by training the willow into lush living hedges and archways that support a variety of insects and birds.

The day finished with a practical session to learn the basic skills involved in the traditional craft of willow weaving. With a little help and guidance, all members of the group created a willow plait to take home and plant outdoors as a lasting, living reminder of the day.

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust’s ‘People and the DALES’ Community Worker, Judy Rogers commented,

"I have been working with Settle Resource Centre for six years, and its lovely to see the long-lasting benefits that our partnership has had. Initially YDMT were delivering regular sessions such as this for the Centre, but now we arrange sessions occasionally. This is a sign that we are inspiring and enabling staff to develop and maintain their own relationships with activity providers such as Sue and Wayne, so that they can arrange return visits of their own accord in future, which is great news for the Centre."

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