Rushcliffe Country Park Labyrinth
Welcome to the Labyrinth in Rushcliffe Country Park!
Labyrinths are found all around the world, but unlike a maze, which is a puzzle, a labyrinth is a journey with one continuous path winding from the entrance to the centre and back again. During surveys, local residents told us they were looking for new types of activities in the park, e.g. being alone to meditate, to celebrate an event with others, to learn new skills. A labyrinth is a well known means of providing these opportunities through gentle exercise, meditation, and activities for groups or individuals. Travelling the path facilitates games and play, parties and celebrations, meditation and prayer, dance and joy walks, problem solving and healing, faith and festivals. There is more information in the leaflets.
The low-maintenance labyrinth has shelter trees, seats, a raised earth bank, an interpretation board, and access paths. It is designed to include motorised wheel chairs, pushchairs, bicycles, and less mobile people by having wide hardcore paths marked by bricks of a contrasting colour, all lying flat to the ground. A finger labyrinth outside Bradmore Community Hall is linked to the Park by a popular footpath. This display board has a raised outline of the labyrinth for following with the finger.
Construction was carried out by volunteers including the Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park and the Community Payback Scheme. 87 people contributed 2,350 hours to the project in many different ways, thereby gaining new skills and experiences. Work started in May 2011 and we were fortunate that enough helpers appeared each day for the job in hand. The weather, being dry, was ideal: any rain would have caused havoc to the ground conditions through the heavy use of excavators and dumper trucks. See the gallery.
The labyrinth is a seven-circuit, classical design with an overall width of 22m and a return path length of 445m. After surveying the site, 84m3 of soil were excavated to a depth of 0.25m and a geotextile was laid. The area was then infilled with consolidated hardcore (0.15m) covered with compacted sand (0.05m) and compacted top dressing. Using traditional methods, wall positions were marked into the top dressing and charcoal coloured paving-bricks (width 0.1m) inserted to delineate the path (width 1.35m). A pausing stone is placed at the entrance and a stone with wooden seat slats is sited at the centre. Three benches of recycled plastics located near to the entrance are orientated to facilitate group discussions. Twenty-two trees planted around the labyrinth will (eventually) provide both shelter and seclusion for users. A new wheel chair friendly path 150m long provides access from two directions.
Excavated soil forms the earth bank around one quarter of the labyrinth for observation and extended activities. This is sown with grass and wild flower seeds. Two sets of steps provide a seating area for small group sessions and access to the bank.
We are most grateful to the funding and support provided by Nottinghamshire County Council Local Improvement Scheme, the Councillors’ Division Fund of Cllr Reg Adair, Rushcliffe Borough Council, and the Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park. The central stone was donated by Realstone, Bolehill Quarries, Wingerworth, Chesterfield S42 6RG.