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Astronomical Art connects the Green Backyard to the Cosmos

Community & Education Natural Environment
A wooden monument has been built at the Green Backyard in time for the Winter Solstice on the 21st December 2016.

The Green Backyard is a vibrant community growing project in the heart of Peterborough, which was established in 2009 and is run entirely by volunteers. A community group has transformed what was once a derelict former allotment site into a beautiful and productive community garden that is open to everyone.

Taking the form of a circular henge, made of long freshly cut tree branches, the artwork is the creation of Peterborough artist James Tovey. James Tovey is an artist and boatbuilder who was recently responsible for the Future Floodlands Stage set and installation at the PECT Green Festival 2016.

The Monument he has constructed, alongside a group of people, is a development of his 'Sea Plastic Torii Henge' built in the Cathedral precincts and created for the PECT Green Festival launch day on 13th August 2016.

The new henge, which is located at the Green Backyard, is especially designed with a large 'Sun Gate' to the south so at midday the sunlight can penetrate through to a central post. As is traditional with this type of alignment there is also a heel post, marking the position of the sun at the significant moment of the day. The artwork has been aligned with posts on the North, East and West cardinal points and the Sun Gate over the South cardinal.

Materials for the henge were sourced locally, including the branches which were supplied by local tree surgeons, who were willing to donate these materials rather than seeing them put into a chipper, which is the usual practice.

James Tovey says: “Using these branches in imaginative building projects in your garden also helps lock up the carbon in the wood for a longer period of time than seeing it go straight to firewood as happens with trees and logs of this size. It can also become a great haven for smaller insects as well as providing beautiful natural shapes to grow plants around.”

On Wednesday 21st December 2016 all are invited to a gathering at the Green Backyard to officially open the henge. Rich Hill, chair of the Trustees, will then be inviting people to help decorate the structure for Christmas and the New Year celebrations. The henge at the Green Backyard can be visited at anytime during the Green Backyard opening hours found at:

If you would like more information about the Green Backyard, please contact 07523 939424.

Photo caption: A close up of the 'Sea Plastic Torii Henge' from the 2016 PECT Green Festival.