The medieval Great Barn at Buckland Abbey, near Plymouth has its doors for Christmas with over a hundred twinkly trees and watery light illuminations. The ‘River of Light’ illuminations in the Great Barn have been inspired by the Cistercian monks who founded Buckland Abbey nearly 800 years ago and first arrived at their home by navigating their way along the River Tavy.
As visitors follow the twinkling lights of the trees, they will meander through the sparkling forest. But the path is not actually a path, it is a river of light to help visitors feel like they are walking through the nearby River Tavy. As visitors walk through the barn they will be immersed in the river of light which has been created using rippling lights of blue tone colours. You might also spot the odd fish or two on the side of the barn walls!
An army of volunteers have helped install all the Christmas trees in the barn. Visitors will see that the true community effort from volunteers runs through the whole of Buckland Abbey. Over sixty volunteers have helped with every little detail, from making evergreen arbours for the doorways, to dressing Christmas trees in the Abbey and sewing the Georgian staircase cascade.
For centuries rivers have been the veins that run through cities and countryside: providing water for us to drink, grow crops and tranquil places to explore and escape. Today though, our rivers are in trouble – and so is the wildlife that depends on them. This means that some important plants, insects, animals and birds are at risk and the ‘River of Light’ display is hoping to highlight this message.