KERDROYA will be a major new piece of permanent public art – a 56m diameter classical labyrinth that celebrates the wonders of Cornish stone hedges, at Colliford Lake on Bodmin Moor.
Once complete, the visitor will walk a single, meandering path through stretches of artisan stonework that celebrate distinct hedging styles from across Kernow. Keep checking back to find out when the site will open to the public or sign up to our newsletter to get regular updates.
At the very heart of Kerdroya, a 10m circular space opens out to breath-taking views across the moorland and lake. Here lies a bespoke commissioned sculpture created by Thrussells. You can watch their process of making the sculpture in our behind-the-scenes film ‘The Heart of Kerdroya.’
Kerdroya was the successful bid in 2019 for the ‘Diamond Landscapes’ commission celebrating 60 years of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and 4,000 years of the humble Cornish hedge. To date, the project has reached more than 500 people through community events, 800 school pupils through education programmes and more than 500m of Cornish hedges have been built, repaired, or restored. The labyrinth construction still has a long and winding path ahead, Cornish hedges take time…
The Kerdroya project has been funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players, Cornwall Council, Cornwall AONB, FEAST, Cornwall Heritage Trust and Arts Council England.
Neither a ‘hedgerow’ nor a ‘dry-stone wall’ the distinctive Cornish hedge is outstanding for its impact, beauty and function. Over 30,000 miles of hedge create the characteristic patterns of the Cornish landscape. They provide vital habitat for flora and fauna and are also claimed to be the oldest surviving human-built structures still in use anywhere in the world.
Throughout the summer of 2019, local master hedgers worked with community groups and schools to pass on knowledge and skills to create a diverse team of ‘Hedge Stewards’. We repaired 12 sections of Cornish Hedge in 12 areas of Cornwall, ran 12 Hedging Taster Days, delivered 12 Community Lectures and nurtured 360 primary school Hedge Stewards.
In Spring 2020, under the radar, we completed the groundwork and set the grounders so that the footprint of Cornwall is visible from above. We rallied 35 volunteers, 2 horses and 1 sledge to salvage 20 tons of previously drowned granite from the shoreline of the reservoir, as captured by Channel 4’s ‘Devon & Cornwall’.
In 2021 we made a start on the challenging, tightly-curved section at the Labyrinth’s entrance. We’ve trained 4 young Kickstart Apprentices and we ran the first season of the ‘Outdoor University of Cornish Hedging’, delivering 167 days of training for 54 participants.
We delivered 3 more Community Lectures, provided free transport to take 26 families on free story telling walks and hosted 10 primary school visits to the site, where 433 primary school children created and buried 10 Cultural Treasure time capsules. We even found time to talk to The Guardian about the project, you can read the Kerdroya feature here.
Over the summer of 2022 we hosted training days for almost 40 young construction students, provided training for 16 passionate volunteers from Cornish organisations who’ll be taking their new-found knowledge back to their own sites and hosted preview events for some of our Hedge Pledge supporters. We secured additional funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and appointed a contractor to begin work on the main construction phase in Spring 2023.
Work began on site in May 2023, however, it has not been all plain sailing – what building project ever is? Progress over the summer was slower than expected meaning that the contractor was unable to complete the work within the planned timescales. Now we are taking some time to explore with our partners what happens next and how we can best work towards getting construction completed in 2024.
Connecting people to nature through arts, culture and heritage.
At the centre of the Kerdroya landscape labyrinth lies an artwork ‘The Heart of Kerdroya’, commissioned by Arts Council England and crafted by father and son metal sculptors Thrussells, whose studio sits just half a mile from the site.
We recognise that AONBs are cultural landscapes of value. Creating this emotive piece of land art, sculpted by expert hedgers and the helping hands of the community, Kerdroya looks to increase use, enjoyment and appreciation of the outstanding landscapes of Cornwall and pay tribute to an unsung hero, the humble Cornish hedge.
Celebrating the history of the humble Cornish hedge and saving the bees.
Claimed to be amongst the oldest human-built structures in the world still in use for their original purpose, some of our Cornish hedges are thought to be more than 4,000 years old. Our labyrinth will celebrate the locally distinctive building styles of hedges in the 12 Cornwall AONBs. It will transform an abandoned carpark into a new habitat for local flora and fauna, becoming a vital home for tens of thousands of species of insects and pollinators, as well as hundreds of species of flowering plants. This project prides itself on being a carbon-neutral construction, created using locally available, natural recycled and reused materials to protect our land for the future and preserve the ancient craft of hedging.
Safeguarding the future of Cornwall’s hedges
An integral part of Kerdroya is the skills, development and training programme on offer. As well as a colossal piece of land art, Kerdroya is a cultural heritage project and we are working closely with the Guild of Cornish Hedgers, and the more recently formed Cornwall Rural Education and Skills Trust ‘CREST’ to encourage skills development. CREST has recently secured funding from the Cornwall AONB Farming in Protected Landscape Programme (FiPL) to develop more accredited training in Cornish hedging and a comprehensive education and training programme and work at Kerdroya supports these efforts.
Through the Kerdroya project, we’ve been engaging schools and community groups to recruit Hedge Stewards and Hedge Detectives and giving young, unemployed and local people the opportunity to master the art of Cornish hedging, helping to fill the desperate shortage of skilled hedgers. The Kerdroya project has helped to raise awareness of the ancient craft and the challenges it faces – contributing to the recent addition of Cornish Hedging to the Heritage Crafts Red List of Endangered Crafts. This presence on the list helps to bring the plight of these skills to national attention.
“The Kerdroya project is an inspired piece of conservation that combines art, craft and the natural world – as the Cornish hedges themselves do. They are one of Cornwall’s great unsung wonders, and they are in need of attention. After a day jigsawing stones out on the cliff with a master hedger, I’m going home to try and repair my own.”
-Philip Marsden, Author
“Just to say how much our pupils have enjoyed working on this amazing Cornish hedge project. Thank you very much – events like this add real diversity and value to our curriculum!”
-Ms Talbot, Grade-Ruan School
We’re inviting One and All to help us create Kerdroya, the living testament to culture, habitat and skill.
You can still be part of this everlasting piece of land art, and a project that supports tens of thousands of species of insects and pollinators.
There are lots of ways to support Kerdroya, whether that’s buying a Bodmin Boulder for your business, making a Hedge Pledge in memory of a loved one or simply by sharing the story of Kerdroya with a friend.
Your Hedge Pledge will help us raise funds to complete Kerdroya.Get my stretch