Community project set in stone at Leavesden Country Park
28th June 2020
A community artwork which grew out of the imaginations of local children has been literally set in stone for all to enjoy in years to come.
The COVID-19 ‘Snake’ is made up of over 1,300 painted stones and pebbles laid by the children of Abbots Langley and Leavesden. The first seven stones were left on May 20 by local resident Becky and her daughters Freya (5) and Daisy (8) along the edge of a path leading from the Woodlands Cafe in the park. Their idea quickly caught on, with hundreds more children adding their imaginatively painted stones along the path. The stones were decorated with imageries depicting NHS rainbows and words of thanks, flora and fauna, football clubs, and more.
The Leader of Three Rivers District Council, Cllr Sara Bedford, wanted to see the stones retained within the park as a memory of the pandemic and so that everyone could see how the community had reacted during these difficult times. After a site visit with some of Three Rivers’ leisure team and a conversation with the Robinson family, a plan to get the stones in place quickly was put into action. The stones were gathered in and varnished to weatherproof them.
The snake was constructed on Thursday, with the council’s team supported by Bruce Lovelock and his team who are responsible for much of the work in the park. A trench was dug alongside the path and the stones placed in a fast setting concrete. The final stones, a rainbow-coloured tail, were laid by Daisy and Freya, who are both pupils at Tanners Wood School.
Cllr Bedford, said: “I would like to thank Daisy and Freya for leading the way for the community, whose ideas and artwork will now continue to bring joy to others. The ‘snake’ will serve as a memory of this time and will show that Abbots Langley stuck together and supported others through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This project has highlighted the strong community spirit in Abbots Langley, and shows how important parks are to everyone’s mental health and well-being. The leisure team have worked so hard to bring the project together so quickly and residents appreciate their work.”
Daisy and Freya wanted to share their thoughts on the project. “We made the snake to give children something fun to do during lockdown and we hoped it would make people feel happy on their walks,” said Daisy. “We have enjoyed counting the stones on our walks to the park and seeing all the different pictures on them”. Freya added: “People have said lots of nice things to us and wanted to add a stone to our snake. Even our Head Teacher has said ‘Wow, what a great idea!’” Becky added: “I’m so proud of my girls. It’s fabulous to see it all coming together.”
Now that the snake has found its permanent home and is fully grown, Three Rivers is suggesting that children can join the ‘Abbots Langley Rocks’ project, hiding their special stones in the park for others to find and admire, then hide again.