AN ARTIST who wrote a song for the Willow Man to highlight “his unfortunate position” said the sculpture “needs to be saved”.

Barry Walsh, who wrote a song for the Willow Man last year, welcomed the news to award Somerset Council with £35,000 to consider the possibility of repairing/enhancing and relocating the sculpture.

The Willow Man, close to Bridgwater, Junction 23 M5 has deteriorated in recent years and is now barely recognisable.

Mr Walsh said: “I welcome the news that Somerset Council has been granted £35k from ‘National Highways’ so feasibility studies can be carried out on the Willow Man with open arms, wonderful news indeed.

“To coin a phrase here, I would say ‘That’s one small step for Somerset and one giant leap for the Willow Man’.

“Passing him by in my car on the M5 in 2021 and seeing his all too obvious state of decline, inspired me to write the ‘Willow Man’ song to highlight his unfortunate position.

“I shared the video to 135 groups on Facebook the length of the M5 and almost to a man the outpouring of love and support to save him was monumental.

“Of course, it will need more funding to save and re-instate the Willow Man.

“I hear Serena de la Hey is up for the challenge and is as enthusiastic as ever to rebuild him.

“The fact that housing is closing in on him more than ever, so whether he remains in the same place or on the other side of the road is not a problem to me.

“The Willow Man needs to be saved, as the use of willow is very synonymous with Somerset, and advertising that fact is very important to me.

“If longer-lasting materials are used in his reconstruction, so be it. As long as it’s mixed in with willow.

“In conclusion, I wish the Willow Man every success to his re-instatement and proud position on the M5.”

The council said a future scheme could see the sculpture rebuilt using more robust materials.

The funding will cover a range of activities including engagement, initial designs and costings, artists' impressions, as well as searches and surveys covering land ownership and topography to identify potential sites.

The council is asking people for their views and is launching an online engagement page where you can have your say.