Green Woman makes herself at home in Tyrrels Wood

Tyrrels Wood, near Pulham Market in south Norfolk has a secretive new inhabitant this winter. A traditional, woven ‘Green Woman’ sculpture has been hidden in the depths of the wood and is just waiting to be found.

Sculptures, carvings and representations of a ‘Green Man’ – or woman – have been around since pre-Christian days; a face or figure emerging from foliage that represents the natural cycle of growth renewed each year.

The Tyrrels Wood mythical maiden was commissioned by the Woodland Trust, the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. Tyrrel’s Wood is one of over 1,000 woods in its care and contains and contains 41 acres (16.75 hectares) of native ancient woodland. She was constructed in just one day from woodland materials gathered at the site by local artist Jo Hammond from Holbrook, near Ipswich, who used supple branches of hazel, willow and birch wood, plus creepers from honeysuckle and old man’s beard.

The Woodland Trust held an open day to celebrate construction of its new green figure – or ‘Hazel’ as she has been named – with demonstrations of traditional woodland crafts from local craftspeople. More than 70 people, including 35 children enjoying the October half-term holiday, tried their hands at making traditional toys from wood, decorations and jewellery from materials found in the wood, and weaving hurdles and baskets from willow and hazel. Working the pedal-powered ‘bodger’ or pole lathe was a big hit with visitors.

Tyrrels Wood, near Pulham Market in south Norfolk
Top: Trying out the ‘bodger’, or foot-powered pole lathe, was a big hit with visitors to an open day at Tyrrels Wood in Norfolk, organised by the Woodland Trust
Left: Sculptor Jo Hammond creates a traditional ‘Green Woman’ for Tyrrels Wood in Norfolk, commissioned by the Woodland Trust
Right: Tyrrels Wood in Norfolk has a new Green Woman, to be discovered by walkers through the Woodland Trust site.
Photos: Jason Bye/Woodland Trust Photo Library
After several hours, Hazel was finally complete, and was ceremonially dressed with fresh holly berries and a holly-leaf skirt before being placed in her new home in the wood by creator Jo Hammond and the Woodland Trust’s woodland officer for Tyrrel’s Wood, Mike Ryder. She replaces the wood’s previous woven ‘Green Man’ who sat in Tyrrels Wood for several years, surprising unsuspecting walkers who came upon him during their rambles. He disappeared naturally after succumbing to wind and weather over the seasons.

Only woodland officer Mike Ryder, creator Jo Hammond and our photographer know where the new Green Woman is sited, and she’ll be moved around the wood over the coming years. “It’ll be down to luck whether visitors to the woods will come across her during their walks,” Mike said.

The Woodland Trust: The Woodland Trust is the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity. It has 300,000 members and supporters. The Trust has four key aims: i) No further loss of ancient woodland; ii) Restoring and improving the biodiversity of woods; iii) Increasing new native woodland; iv) Increasing people’s understanding and enjoyment of woodland.

Established in 1972, the Woodland Trust now has over 1,000 sites in its care covering approximately 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres). Access to its sites is free. Further news can be found at