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Iconic Willow Man near M5 receives a 'facelift'

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 19, 2012

  • Artist Serena de la Hey begins to feed willow on to the base of the giant 40ft Willow Man sculpture, next to the M5 motorway Picture: Ben Birchall

  • Willow artist Serena de la Hey prepares to start on the renovation of her Willow Man Picture: Richard Austin

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A well-known Westcountry landmark is undergoing a facelift.

Somerset's Willow Man will benefit from much-needed repair work to its head and arms.

Standing at almost 40 feet (12 metres) high, with a 16ft (5m) arm span, the willow figure situated next to the M5 near Bridgwater has become a famous landmark for travellers to the South West.

Artist Serena de la Hey, who created him, is carrying out repairs to his head and arms this week.

"They're more or less down to the metal framework so I will be going 40ft up in a cherry-picker to reweave those areas, using local willow," said Ms de la Hey.

"So many people have come up to me asking when he's going to be repaired so I'm very happy that we can finally go ahead with this work.

"Some areas haven't been touched for 11 years, so it's inevitable that they need repairing."

The cost of the refurbishment is around £18,000 and has been met by Hallam Land Management Ltd, Yarlington Housing Group and Sedgemoor District Council.

The willow for the repairs is coming from local willow producers at Stoke St Gregory and local contractors will be on site during the week.

Commissioned by Arts Council England in 2000 as part of the Year Of The Artist project, the Willow Man has gained national and international recognition.

The current figure is the second to be built on the site after the original was destroyed by fire in 2001.

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  • Brizz_Tony  |  September 19 2012, 12:37PM

    I'm glad it's being fixed. I pass it on my way to or from Devon a lot, and it looks forlorn at present. It looked magnificent standing in empty countryside before Morrison and the houses were built, and I was worried the new neighbours may have meant no-one cared about it now. I'm glad to see my concerns were misplaced, and like many living in or visiting Devon, I look forward to seeing the (Somerset) Willow Man restored to his glory. Well done, Serena, and those backing the restoration!

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  • pendeen  |  September 19 2012, 10:16AM

    Very interesting but this is a Somerset story.I read this website for Cornish news.

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