In November 2008, Ruth Gowland approached fellow artist Glynis Rose with the idea of creating a Peace Labyrinth. This was a project that Ruth had been working on, both personally and professionally, for a number of years. Glynis was inspired and enthused by the whole concept and from that moment on the collaboration of ideas began to spiral. Glynis had in mind the notion of creating a living labyrinth that was accessible to anyone, with walls made up of willow trees and a path wide enough for wheel chairs to navigate. This idea led to a meeting with Ruth Dickinson (Community Liaison Officer) from the Northumberland National Park and, along with her enthusiastic support, the project became a reality. The site chosen was at Walltown Quarry, near Greenhead.
Funding for the willow trees, materials and the digging of the labyrinth’s path and workshops to engage members of the local community was secured through the Area Action Fund, Northumberland STARS and the Northumberland Community Chest.
An exhibition made up of artwork from local, national and international groups visited several different venues in the North East during 2011. The range of groups was diverse, from a High School in Newcastle, a Carers group in Gateshead, an Over 50s group in Haltwhistle to a Felters group in New Zealand and a Buddhist group in Arizona, USA. There are also contributions from individual artists who created some wonderful pieces for World Peace Day 2011.
In October 2011, the NNP funded a day’s workshop with children and staff from Greenhead C of E First school. Glynis introduced the project to the children by giving them a visual presentation, then showed them how to create their own labyrinth. The children were also given the opportunity to contemplate and share their thoughts on what peace means to them. In the afternoon a bus took the children up to Walltown, where they were given an educational guided tour of the site, which included walking the labyrinth.