Preparations have been underway for the past month at the National Trust’s Attingham Park on the outskirts of Shrewsbury as the team transform the estate for a Christmas ‘Inspired by Nature’ (Saturday 30 November - Monday 23 December).

Over the past few weeks visitors to the popular estate have watched the progress of willow artist Ben Mayho, the Wild Craftist, as he created an impressive willow sculpture of Mother Nature, that forms the focal point in the historic Stables Courtyard this winter.

Now complete, ‘Mother Nature’ is the result of months of design and planning on the part of Ben, after being commissioned to create the piece by the team at Attingham earlier in the year. Over 200 hours of work, both indoors and out and in a variety of weather have culminated in the finished sculpture.

Ben Mayho, Wild Craftist said “Mother Nature has been a truly fabulous commission to create – I’ve put my hands, my head and my heart into the project over the last few weeks! The sculpture is made of many thousands of willow rods, grown here in the UK, and each one has been cut, dried, and re-soaked before being shaped around the frame, and ivy from the estate at Attingham has also been included in the finished work.” 

With a sculpture of this size bespoke steel armatures have been used to provide a solid structure, made for this project by Suckley Engineering, and the sculpture is lit to highlight the intricate work within the piece which takes centre stage in the busy courtyard.

Flora Holdsworth, Marketing and Communications Officer at Attingham Park said:

“Christmas is a magical time at Attingham and this willow Mother Nature sculpture is just part of the festive visit that we hope will delight and surprise our visitors. We’ve worked with Ben on a number of projects before and are absolutely thrilled with his sculpture ofMother Nature, which really represents our theme of ‘Inspired by Nature’ at Attingham this Christmas.”

A Christmas ‘Inspired by Nature’ takes place from Saturday 30 November until Monday 23 December. The Mansion will be dressed for Christmas and open daily with entry by pre-booked ticket for three entry times on each day; between 10am and 12pm, between 12pm and 2pm and between 2pm and 3.30pm. Visitors can enter the Mansion at any time within their entry period, and spend as long as they wish viewing the Mansion once inside.

The festive decorations in the Mansion will explore ways that people have been inspired by nature at Attingham, both past and present. The opulent Regency interiors and collections are all woven in to this theme, from beautiful painted peacocks, to mythical golden Chimaera, and exotic tropical birds. The team at Attingham will also be sharing the stories about the Berwick family who bequeathed Attingham to the National Trust, and their love for animals and nature.

There is no additional charge to visit the Mansion but all visitors should pre-book their ticket in advance, including National Trust members. Non-members of the National Trust should pre-book their ticket in advance, they will then be asked to pay the standard non-member admission on arrival on the day of their visit.

Tickets can be booked via the What’s On page of Attingham’s webpage at nationaltrust.org.uk/attingham-park. There is no need to book a ticket to visit the parkland, Walled Garden, Carriage House Café or Stables Shop. Visits to anywhere on site except the Mansion remain on a free- flow basis. National Trust members and under 5s visit Attingham for free, admission charges apply on the day for non-members. 

For more information on Ben Mayho and his work visit www.wildcraftist.com