Willow Man creator 'optimistic' the famous sculpture has a future

  • Watch Ben McGrail's report here.

The woman who created Somerset's iconic Willow Man sculpture by the M5 motorway in Bridgwater says she is 'optimistic' he has a future as a study begins.

Serena de la Hey built the structure in 2000 to mark the 'Year of the Artist' and celebrate Willow's impact on the ecology and economy of Somerset.

Somerset Council has announced a study is set to take place to look into whether the piece can be repaired or even rebuilt in a new location nearby.

Ms de la Hey said: "I'm optimistic. When the Willow Man is here and I'm working on him, there is a hopeful anticipation for the future of the piece. I think people must realise how important these public pieces are to break up our journey.

"I feel that we need this kind of positivity and inspiration and I want to share with people the solution for the Willow Man and make him go on."

A decision has not yet been made on whether Willow Man will be repaired or even rebuilt in another area.

Councillor Mike Rigby, from Somerset Council, said: "It’s really important that we do try and find a solution to preserve him in some way and I think this study is the way to do that. I

"t’s a really helpful step in order for us to be able to find a way of doing that and to enable the public to have their say.

"There is a pot of money from National Highways, and I'm really pleased that we've been able to access that money.

"It would have been spent somewhere else in the UK on another arts project - I'm pleased that we've got hold of that so that we can find a solution of bringing the Willow Man back to travellers and back to the people of Somerset."