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Shropshire
Saturday, July 31, 2021

Community arts group to bring magical trail to Ellesmere woodland

A magical trail of fabulous creatures is on its way to a Shropshire woodland thanks to the efforts of a community arts group.

Tony Lewery’s exotic bird
Tony Lewery’s exotic bird

Fizzgigs, the arts group based in Ellesmere, has devised and created the magical trail to help highlight the community-owned Plantation woodland on the edge of the town.

The installation of up to a dozen creations features a range of exotic woodland creatures along the paths and in the trees. It will be opened on July 25.

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Fizzgigs chairman Ian Andrew said the event was aimed at tapping into the natural magic of the broad-leaved woodland as a way of highlighting The Plantation as a community resource.

“Our inspiration is to imagine that magic has made things work a little differently in The Plantation. We hope we have created a vision of some of the wondrous creatures that could live there now,” he said.

The fantasy animals, insects and birds will be in place in The Plantation well into August. Visitors will be able to wander, free of charge, through the 2.7 hectares searching for the creatures.

They include a one and half metre long exotic bird created by theatre designer and author Tony Lewery who is a member of the group and who featured on BBC’s ‘The Golden Age of Canals’.

“I fancied the idea of something improbable and striking perched in a humble English wood,’ he explained.

Other creatures include a five-foot tall robin with green wings, an enormous dragonfly, a five-metre caterpillar, a wiggly snake and a hare on a tightrope created by Fizzgigs member, Peter Cartlidge.

‘It just appeared to me. It’s holding a balance pole as all good tightrope walkers do, of course,’ he said.

Members of the community have been invited to make their own contributions by adding to the flurry of fantastic Fizzgigs owls that will be placed throughout the woodland in addition to the large installations.

Ian Andrew said: “The community really got behind our celebration of spring over the May Bank holiday with over sixty quirky sprites. So we thought they’d like to again.

“Instructions are available on our website and kits can be requested by emailing info@fizzgigs.co.uk. Folks will just need a balloon, wallpaper paste, newspaper, masking tape, cardboard, garden string and paints.”

Pip Elms a member of the committee which cares for The Plantation said: “This will bring together people of all ages to enjoy the beauty of the plantation and showcase how the woodland is a community asset.

“We hope to educate people about the natural wonders we have within our community and the work The Plantation volunteers do to keep the woodland open to the public and to protect the environment within it. And all with that touch of Fizzgigs’ magic,” she said.

She added that paths might not be suitable for children’s pushchairs or wheelchairs and parking was available at the Mere and Castle Mound car parks.

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