Secrets planted in Spixworth school’s new garden

A mysterious secret chest made from the branch of a tree which fell in a churchyard has become the focal point of a sensory garden which has just been opened at a school near Norwich.

Staff and pupils at Spixworth Infant School held a grand opening for the mystery sensory garden at the Ivy Road-based school on Thursday.

The garden, which contains plants and flowers with different textured leaves, as well as a range of colours and smells, also features two wooden seats and the mystery chest.

All three wooden objects have been crafted by sculptor Bjorn Fiskvatn, who used a branch from a cedar tree which fell in St Peter's Church, Spixworth, at the turn of the year.

The Rev Andrew Beane, rector of Spixworth, Horsham St Faith and Crostwick, said the church allowed the school to use the wood for its sensory garden, but was stunned to discover that the branch contained more than just wood.

He said; 'The branch that fell off was about 150 years old and when he (Mr Fiskvatn) started chopping into the wood he discovered an embedded capsule. Someone about 70 years ago, counting the rings, had hollowed out part of the branch and placed it in.'

They then decided to create a mystery chest as part of the garden to give children the chance to guess what might be inside.

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Rev Beane said: 'Rather than just cutting it out or making it into a seat he wanted to get the children to guess what was put inside and create a lovely story about what he has found.'

Mr Fiskavatn, who is originally from Norway but lives in Norwich and works at the Stew gallery and studios at Fishergate, Norwich, said he has enjoyed being part of the project.

He said: 'The fact that I found this thing was an enormous bonus and gave me something far more valuable than I could possibly have done with any kind of sculpture really.

'Myths and legends are very valuable particularly for the children.

'I chose, after I found it, to make the whole thing about curiosity.

'As soon as you put something that is locked up in an infant school yard and say there's a secret inside, I think it's very hard for that not to be wondered about; it's just a natural thing for children to do.'

Have you got an unusual story? Call Evening News reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email