David collected, and sold, architectural salvage. Many of the barns you see on Brick Kiln Lane, now converted, housed his vast collection of doors, bricks, window frames and interesting architectural features and oddments.
He kept some of the most interesting pieces for a use at a later date. That date never came so the Trust decided to re-construct them into some architectural features on site at the woodland.
The stones of the arch were salvaged from a demolished chapel on St Stephen’s Square in Norwich. You can still see the foundation stone still in its original place in Norwich.
The Trust had them cleaned and a new key stone carved. It was a difficult job to reconstruct the arch as a free standing structure and thankfully we found local Master Craftsman, Dougie Whitwood, who could do the job in 2010.
The pillars for these were salvaged from Fakenham Maltings which had been demolished. Again Dougie Whitwood was able to construct them into the structure you see today. Coincidentally, Dougie was at the original sale of the pillars and decided not to buy them and left David to bid on the auction lot. He would never have guessed that he would be using them 30 years later.
In 2005 the trust commissioned a local stone carver, Teucer Wilson, to design and construct some seating for the amphitheatre created by the mound. The spot is a secluded one, sheltered from the wind and passers by and we thought it would provide a nice area to picnic and sit and be.
Teucer Wilson trained as a stonemason and architectural carver at Weymouth College in Dorset, before working for five years at the Richard Kindersley Studio in London. He moved to Norfolk to set up his own workshop in June 2000. He works almost entirely to commission, producing a wide range of work including carving, signage, memorials, lettering and more sculptural outdoor pieces.
Teucer designed the seating to work in harmony with the mound. A central point for the curve was found and the seats and ‘table’ were designed to fit with that accordingly which explains why the ‘table’ is a little way away from the seats.
It is made from the finest quality Welsh slate. Fine rubbed to a smooth finish that is nice to touch and warms up in sunlight creating an irresistible hot seat.
Part of David Hood’s vision for the If Not Now When woodland was that it should contain a labyrinth.
A labyrinth is not a maze; there is no way to get lost. Its single pathway leads through many twists and turns to the centre. They were once a common feature of English village greens and are now experiencing a worldwide revival as laces of reflection and meditation as well as of play and curiosity.
This labyrinth follows the pattern of a Classical or Cretan Seven Circuit path and was designed by Tchenka Jane Sunderland, one of whose labyrinth designs can be found in the cloisters of Norwich Cathedral.
The trust commissioned Rachael Long, based in Wreningham, to create a piece of work for the wood. We felt that her work, using industrial and agricultural scrap, was in keeping with David’s interest and use of architectural salvage.
“I am fascinated by the skeleton and musculature of animals and birds. My challenge is to try and transform redundant machine parts into a form that conveys the essence of living creatures.”
– Rachael Long
We decided upon an owl as they have roosted and flown across the field for years.
The idea was to make a kinetic sculpture for one of the gate post of the wood. Rachael worked in partnership with a skilled engineer to design the owl. A neighbour of the field, Sid, then designed and constructed the self-closing mechanism for the gate so all work in perfect harmony, most of the time.
There are two sculptures of the Silver Surfer in the niches of the arch. These were made in 2011 by Lesley Ash.
The Silver Surfer is a superhero featured in Marvel comics, first appearing in 1966. With his silver metallic skin, he cruises space on his surf board faster than the speed of light. Noble and tormented, the Silver Surfer treasures freedom above all else.
David identified with the Silver Surfer and even had his coffin decorated with images from the Marvel comics. Why? The quote he used to sum the character up on the Order of Service for his funeral was “…there is no sadder or more noble being than the Silver Surfer! And certainly none so alone”.
The trustees always had wanted to include the Silver Surfer somewhere in the wood, and the building of the arch with its niches provided the ideal spot.
Lesley Ash, a local sculptor, knew David well and was the obvious choice for the job. She initially modelled the figure out of clay – poised for action on the board bursting through the back of the niche. This also enabled the sculpture to be bolted to the wall. From the figure she was then able to cast it in aluminium.