Miners Children

The Woodland Trust commissioned Sylvan Skills to create two sculptures as a treat for walkers and visitors to Low Burnhall Woods in County Durham. As we had already installed a miner and his wife at the site a few years ago it made sense to complete the family with two children.

What is better than creating sculptures which tell a story and spark your imagination? We set our minds on showcasing the children rolling hoops. This game was very popular in Victorian times when fancy toys were scarce. It was affordable for most people as it required minimum equipment: Any wooden or metal wheel shaped object could be used as a hoop and a stick to ensure its progress was even easier to acquire.

Woodland Trust Miners children concept

Woodland Trust Games

The game continued until recent memory and our woven sculptures are likely to inspire children to try it for themselves. Furthermore, there will be a hopscotch area made of stone slabs near the sculptures.

It needed careful planning to bring the idea of the playing children to life. After sketching their postures internal metal frames had to be made to create stability. The frames were built by Tim Thompson and Derek Anderson who made sure the figures kept their dynamic appearance while being sturdy and safe for an outdoor audience.


The metal frameworks were then covered with oak splint wood. Intricate areas such as the hands and faces turned out to be the trickiest parts. After finishing the sculptures we had to wait for warmer weather to transport and install them on site.

Woodland Trust Miners children concept

The sculptures are especially popular with children who like to explore Low Burnhall Woods, hoping to discover something unexpected.
Are you interested in getting your own woven sculpture made of oak splint wood, hazel or willow? Please don’t hesitate to get in touch – we’d love to hear about your ideas! 

Don’t forget to follow Sylvan Skills on Facebook.