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Updates for the Whispering Knights woodland project - Neolithic Echoes.


Goat's beard in the labyrinth

Karl Gunter

Miranda found this growing at the entrance to the labyrinth yesterday… Tragopogon pratensis - aka goat's beard or meadow salsify.

Apparently it is a short-lived perennial, with yellow star-like flowers in summer, found in grassland. After flowering, it produces a showy globe of seeds which are also known, as with dandelions, as 'clocks'. Pratensis means ‘of the meadows’.

Goat’s beard (Tragopogon pratensis) at the entrance to the labyrinth.

Between Earth and Sky

Karl Gunter

Here is the longer of the two videos – there's a delightful bit (well to me anyway) of a bee building a nest just outside the labyrinth (at about 2min 20sec).

A View of the Whispering Knights

Karl Gunter

Working on two videos for the woods. One using two sections from some of Claire's commissioned music, and a shorter video using two sections of music we've licensed that remind me for some reason of Erik Satie.

Not sure if the view of the Whispering Knights will be included in the latest videos.

A view to the east across the Whispering Knights dolmen.

Orchid in the labyrinth

Karl Gunter

A lovely discovery within the labyrinth – a pyramidal orchid: Anacamptis pyramidalis

Apparently it needs a specific fungus in the soil to flower, so perhaps the plan to encourage mycelium in the woods is working.

As Miranda put it: Like many orchids it is myco-heterotrophic and requires a specific fungus to be present in the soil in order to bloom.

Summer growth is going mad this year – granted 2018 we had a summer drought, but still...

Pyramidal orchid: Anacamptis pyramidalis - flowering in the labyrinth.

Editing footage

Karl Gunter

Going through video footage – here is an aerial view of one of the structures. Work in the wood is slowing now as summer growth fills in and birds, insects and other creatures get on with important business.

Looking down on the six-armed structure just up from the large triskellion (triskele).

Filming in the woods

Karl Gunter

Using various cameras and drones to film in the wood – hoping we'll get some good shots. Tricky timing it right,,, a goldilocks issue as we need enough leaves for colour but not too much to obscure the structures.

Looking north through the spiral gateway.

Labyrinth - Stage One

Karl Gunter

The first stage of the labyrinth is now complete. Lets hope the new planting establishes well; if they do, then we can look forward to cherry blossom within the labyrinth.

A view to the west overlooking the Fibonacci cascade

Neolithic Echoes - Labyrinth Grows

Karl Gunter

A 1 minute video showing how the Neolithic Echoes Labyrinth is coming on for Oxfordshire Artweeks 2019

Karl Gunter: “I started laying out the pattern for the Neolithic Echoes Labyrinth at the end of 2018 - it seemed like the obvious next step to compliment the shapes, spirals and structures. The slices of wood and their placement won’t offer the same opportunities for birds, but already mycelium is forming on some of the undersides and as the wood decays there might be some nice opportunities for small insects and beetles… certainly the slugs and snails seem to be making use of the spaces, and last week I came across a queen wasp sunning herself on one of the ash rounds.”

Walk the Labyrinth

Karl Gunter

People are finding the labyrinth and it is generating interest and questions.

As a family passed by recently, I overheard a child say “I don't know what it is but I like it.”

High praise!

Common questions include “What is it?” or “Is it a maze?”.

Yet another is “What is it for?”

All excellent questions, and as I've said to a good number of people: “Well, it depends on what you bring to the party...”

Anyway, the questions got me thinking about what might be said; currently it is this:

Walk the labyrinth

To look into yourself

To look into the world

And the world

To look into you

The words are simple but reflect some of the things that a labyrinth might be used for. In some ways the labyrinth seems like the short meditation spirals, but as it develops and the more I walk it, I’m finding it generates strong parallels in feeling and effects to the Taoist yoga and martial arts / calisthenics I have been practicing for over 35 years. I suspect that the ‘space’ of the labyrinth works with whatever it finds in our minds - and for me, that is in the form of amplifying the practices of Taoist physical culture exercises like short form Tai Chi, breathing exercises and physical calisthenics. For someone else it would likely be reflective of their interests and thoughts.

The idea of the Neolithic Echoes Labyrinth as a tool is something I shall ponder further; one aspect is its potential for discursive meditation of ideas and questions both simple and complex.

Karl Gunter

Checking the Labyrinth

Karl Gunter

May need to adjust the basics of the labyrinth cascade if the winds get more intense – repairs were still standing when I checked today but the forecast for Wednesday is wind gusts of 50mph+

Of course, more whimsically it might be the Earl of the Wind (From my old martial arts style) reminding me to keep up calisthenics and practice!

View of labyrinth from north

The eyes of the labyrinth

A Labyrinth and a Fool?

Karl Gunter

Made an adjustment to the new planting in the labyrinth by changing all tree protectors to try and get them to blend by being more uniform. Now need to try adding a Fibonacci 'wave’ to the path walls that incorporates some of the new trees.

This won't be possible from a ratio perspective or for all of the new trees, but I hope to be able to make some of them work that way.

Tree protectors in labyrinth wall changed to better match

Wind very strong today... Did some adjustments to the Fibonacci cascade to fix where the wind had showed its weakness and try and make it more resilient. Perhaps a fool's errand!

Cascade repairs

Planting Trees into the Labyrinth Walls

Karl Gunter

This week saw a big part of the basics go into place that will now allow more refinements of the labyrinth.

As well as incorporating existing flora into the structure, the idea was to plant new trees into some parts of the path walls.

Luckily for me, there was some help on that front. The guys who had been doing some felling in the wood had sourced some trees and turned up Wednesday. I asked Adrian to walk the labyrinth with me to see if he thought the places I had marked out would work okay with the established trees.

I asked Adrian what he would recommend to plant at markers I'd put near the entrance with a third to go near the centre and he suggested Red Oak.

When we walked back out and reached the entrance, I said (only partially tongue-in-cheek) "Okay, you've been introduced to the labyrinth, planting may now commence." I'm not sure what he thought, but he smiled!

Decided to leave them to the planting of the trees and went to work on refreshing one of the old structures elsewhere.

Later that day I went to see how things were going - they'd put in between 40 and 50 trees and Adrian told me two interesting things (interesting to me at any rate!)...

1. He had got the other guy working with him to walk the labyrinth before they started planting


2. He had included a number of Cherry trees because he thought the blossom would really work well for the labyrinth

So - thank you Adrian, and a shout out to JAG Trees!

New trees planted into labyrinth walls