Close up image of Serena de la Hey building willow sculpture
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Photographs of the willow man and the rebuild

Willow Man - 2001

Willow Man is the largest Willow figure in the UK, and possibly the world.

The willow figure can be seen alongside the M5 motorway, Northbound between Junction 24 and 23, near Bridgwater, Somerset.

The sculpture stands 12 metres high (40 feet) - that is the size of two and a half double decker buses stacked on top of each other - with an arm span of 5 metres.

The figure is made of 30 bundles of locally grown 7/8ft steamed black maul willow, woven around a steel skeletal frame.

There are over 3 tonnes of steel in the framework.

The steel pipes in the legs alone measure 219mm x 16mm; the metal rods in the framework are 6mm in diameter.

The figure is placed on a 6m x 4m x 750mm concrete base and surrounded by a 40 metre circular moat.

The willow sculpture took 6 weeks to build.

Serena had to work from scaffolding 10 metres off the ground in order to create the sculpture.

The Willow Man was commissioned by the Arts Council of England for the Year of the Artist in 2000.

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

18 corporate and public bodies as well as members of the public contributed to the re-build of the original willow man in 2001, making it a truly public piece of the art.

The Willow figure is visible to all passing road and rail users. It is seen by thousands of travellers along the M5 motorway and Bristol to Exeter railway, into the South West.

The recent refurbishment of the Willow Man started on 4th September 2006 and took 10 working days to complete.

The cost of the refurbishment has been funded by: Hallam Land Management Ltd, Sedgemoor District Council, Somerset County Council, South West Regional Development Agency. Take Art initiated the funding for the refurbishment.

Willow Man has become a regional icon, representative of Willow Industry and creativity in the South West.

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