Open evening to show off plans for Jackfield Gates
Plans for the new Jackfield Gates will be on display at an open evening at the Green Wood Centre on Tuesday 2 October from 4pm to 7pm.
The event is being hosted by the Small Woods Association and Telford & Wrekin Council for everyone interested in finding out more about the project. As well as the plans, visitors will be able to get up close to the old gates which were taken down earlier this year and transported to the centre to dry out on a 38ft purpose-built frame over the summer.
Initially Small Woods had hoped to restore the gates, but a recent inspection found that large sections of the timber were beyond repair. With restoration not an option, Small Woods has worked with Council engineers to draw up plans for a replacement set and canvas local opinion for ideas on what could be done with the timber from the old gates.
Ideas are still coming forward, and Small Woods and the Council are keen to hear what other ideas people may have at the open evening when they officially launch the ‘Jackfield Railway Gates Art and Craft Challenge’.
Ian Baker, Chief Executive of Small Woods, said: “The timber from the gates is of little structural value and weak in all the wrong places, which is why they need to be replaced. The new gates will be made to the original design, but it would be nice if the old timber can live on in some new form in The Gorge.
“We have already heard a number of ideas such as using the wood to create art pieces, benches, tables and even simple turned bowls. We are planning to create a railway themed 4-winds bench along the lines of one currently being made by our Heritage Craft Officer and his group, but there is plenty of timber to create so much more. This is why we are launching the challenge to find the most inspiring idea for what we can create. A prize will be awarded to the most inspiring, and there will also be a prize for under 16s as we are particularly keen to hear their ideas.”
Councillor Rae Evans, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member responsible for tourism, said: “The gates are a piece of Ironbridge’s rich history and they mean a lot to the residents of Jackfield and the surrounding area. This is an exciting project and I can’t wait to see the new gates in place and also to see what ideas people come up with for using the old wood to make community assets.”
After the open evening, Small Woods’ Heritage Craft Officer will lead the work on building the new gates and creating a variety of art and craft pieces from the old timber. It is hoped the replacement gates will be in place early 2019.