Change of heart saves North Walsham’s oak tree sculpture

The Oak Tree sculpture in North Walsham park which is leaning over and the Town Council want ti remo

The Oak Tree sculpture in North Walsham park which is leaning over and the Town Council want ti removed because it is dangerous. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A doomed feature of North Walsham Memorial Park is to be saved.

In December North Walsham town councillors spent fewer than five minutes deciding to get rid of the carved oak tree sculpture in the park because they heard it had started to rot and was leaning.

But news of its fate sparked a storm of local protest and councillors have now had a change of heart.

At their January meeting they voted unanimously to reverse their decision and repair the sculpture, which has been in the park for 18 years.

Councillors accepted the advice in a report prepared by the sculptor, Mark Goldsworthy, who has recently inspected the tree.

He recommended scraping back the ground around the sculpture, attaching a strap to pull it to an upright position and then backfilling with hogging.

Mr Goldsworthy also said the sculpture should not be treated, but left to turn silver-grey as this allowed the wood to breathe and slowed the rate of decay.

Most Read

In 1998 the 120-year-old tree was diseased and about to be felled when the town council decided instead to commission Mr Goldsworthy to turn it into a piece of artwork.

He carved many figures standing on each other's shoulders to represent two famous events in North Walsham - the Peasants' Revolt of 1381 and the founding of the Eastern Counties Agricultural Labourers' and Small Holders' Union in 1906.