Lindisfarne is the tidal island off the coast of Northumberland, which is probably better known as Holy Island, due to its associations with early Christianity. The island has long been a site of pilgrimage for Christians who wish to tread in the footsteps of St Aidan and for nature lovers looking for the chance to witness its breathtaking scenery and seal colonies. This year, visitors have also been coming for something else.
Arresting and interesting sculptures
Lately, an army of arresting willow sculptures from local artist Anna Turnbull have popped up to add points of interest along the Lindisfarne Nature Trail and to get visitors thinking about the natural flora and fauna of the area. The exhibition is part of The Peregrini Creative Arts Initiative, which encouraged visitors and residents to get involved, not just in the viewing, but also in the making. By June 2017, when the exhibition opened, around 40 people had volunteered to help create the pieces that were viewed all summer long by walkers, and which will be back on display again next spring.
The sculptures feature many animals well known on the island, such as the lapwing, cormorant, swift, Arctic tern, Brent geese, and the coveted fritillary butterfly. The sculptures are naturalistic in style and designed to capture the life patterns of the various species, which are sometimes migratory and sometimes full-time residents.
One willow sculpture, the two female Eider ducks and their chicks, has drawn a lot of attention. In the tributes to the various plant life on the island, the Lindisfarne helleborine orchid is also a popular piece. The orchid was only recently recognised as a distinct variety, to other, similar dune orchids, after DNA testing. This means it is fast becoming a symbol of the island.
Sculptures and nature have always been a pivotal part of British heritage, with country houses often exhibiting bronze horse sculptures like the ones found at www.gillparker.com. So it is a natural and comfortable step to see sculpture becoming part of walking trail environments.
The island of Lindisfarne and the Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve want visitors to continue to come and admire their landmarks and history, but they also want them to think about its natural history and future too.