The Restoration of the Giant’s Foot

Benfieldside Community Garden / April 15th, 2024

The Restoration of the Giant’s Foot

Easter was the prefect opportunity to encourage volunteers to come and help us at Benfieldside Community Garden. We were absolutely delighted to have over 45 volunteers of all ages over the tow days. Such events are a true testament to what can be achieved when we all work together. We had an egg hunt, used the Storytelling Corner, and most significantly, renovated the Giant’s Foot!

The Mystery

We had been told that there was some kind of artwork underneath what had become a thick layer of weeds. Some members of the community thought it was an oak leaf, others said it was a Giant’s Foot. After hours and hours of hard work, we cut back the weeds, and finally uncovered the mystery. It was a huge Giant’s Foot, with an oak’s leaf for a big toe and an acorn for a heel.

We posted images of the renovated foot on Facebook, and in one of the comments, a local man said that he had created the original foot in 1996 as a part of a project sponsored by The Acorn Trust. Mystery solved.

Easter Fun

As part of our Easter activities do the local children we held a series of volunteer days. Our plan was to use our newly developed ‘Storytelling Corner’ and combine this with the restoration of the Giant’s Foot. Over the two days we were delighted to have over 45 volunteers of all ages. It was fabulous to see so many children enjoying the fresh air and working together to achieve a common aim.

Local Folklore 

Benfieldside along with Consett and Corbridge are all said to have been named after three mythical giants mentioned in the epic poem Ode to the River Derwent by John Carr 1732-1807:

In elder time giants uprear’d

Their heads, and affronted the skies;

Cor, Ben, Con, terrific appear’d,

With names of anomalous size.

A hammer in common they had,

And the use of it easy to all;

Each whistled, each brother was glad

To throw it three leagues at his call

Peter told the story with the help of an image of one of the giants. The children then had a great deal of fun, planting heather and lavender in the foot, and then filling up the spaces with white pea gravel to create a contrast with the land. The oak leaf was painted metallic green and the acorn brown. This combined with a bright white outline of the foot itself has restored a striking feature to the community garden. It is so bright, Someone commented that you could see it from space! Most importantly to us, having the Giant's Foot in the garden is a great way of keeping local folklore alive.

Egg Hunt

As it was Easter we also had the obligatory egg hunt – the garden is a perfect place for such an activity!

Birds and Bees

The wildlife wasn’t forgotten – we filled our bird feeders, and left plenty of food around the garden for the wildlife.

Overall, we are so please with how the days developed. The children and young people were fabulous – there was not one second of complaints, they asked for tasks and just got on with whatever they were told to do. They loved the outdoors and the especially enjoyed the opportunity for creativity in such a stimulating environment. When it was time to leave, and after a full day, one of the young boys said, ‘I wish I could say another three hours!’

It just goes to prove that when directed and encouraged, children can thrive and flourish in an outdoor environment.

Volunteer with us

Volunteer with us. Our next open session are on Friday 26th April and Sunday 28th April as part the Good to Grow initiative. We are getting ready to grow our herbs and fruit and vegetables. Exciting times ahead!


Volunteer with us

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