A living willow sculpture at the gateway to Midhurst

An example of a Willow Horse Sculpture
An example of a Willow Horse Sculpture

A MIDHURST art consultant has come up with an innovative idea to promote the town.

Alison Procter wants to create a unique living willow sculpture near the weir at the entrance to the town beside the River Rother and now she is looking for a community group to front a bid for funding and someone to lead the project.

“My idea is to create a sculpture which would showcase Midhurst as a centre of art, welcome people into the national park and emphasise the river and the Rother Walk to Woolbeding which is a bit hidden.”

She said there would also be a community element for schools and other bodies to take part in the construction.

“It is only at the idea stage, I need highways permission to use the land, but it would be fun to hear what people in Midhurst would like to have in the town.”

The river was a key feature of the town, said Alison, forming a parish boundary and snaking past the ancient monument, the Cowdray Ruins.

“The proposed site is within 25 metres of the river as you enter the town. Although a prominent site, it is currently an undeveloped grassy area, bordered by trees on two sides.

“From here, the newly-introduced River Rother Walk starts along a wetland trail, following the route of the river until it reaches the beautiful Woolbeding parkland.”

In addition to a wide variety of bird and insect life and the flora and fauna of a wetland trail, Alison said there were unusual breeds of sheep and cows grazing the parkland.

She said the commissioned piece would need to give a good visual impact in size and shape for those entering the town.

“It would need to celebrate the attributes of the area with regard to design, materials and suitability of the site.

“In particular, as Midhurst is the heart of the South Downs National Park, and the name means ‘middle of the wood’, the piece would need 
to contain references to the river and the natural world within the desired medium of green willow.”

Alison said she hoped to find someone with expertise to take up the idea.

“I would love to find someone who knows their way round getting planning permission and finding funding who has an interest in art and in Midhurst.”

Anyone who is interested in helping should contact Alison on alisonprocter@gmail.com or her mobile, 07926 193550.