A new 15-foot-high sculpture of solid oak has been unveiled at the Woodland Trust’s Friends of Belvoir Wood in south Belfast.
The crafty creation is one of 11 handcrafted poles, by woodcarver Simon Clements, situated at sites across the UK.
The sculptures are a physical and permanent legacy of the Charter for Trees, Woods and People, launched in November last year. The Charter for Trees, Woods and People was inspired by the original medieval Charter of the Forest, which – some 800 years ago – reinstated the rights of everyday folk to access the Royal Forests.
Livelihoods depended upon the all-important opportunity to graze livestock, forage for food and collect firewood.
Today’s charter, with the importance of trees and woodland still firmly at the core, is the handiwork of conservation charity the Woodland Trust, with input from over 70 other organisations.
More than 60,000 tree stories were shared by members of the public, demonstrating the importance of trees to the individual. The recurring sentiments, such as the need for increased protection for our natural heritage, were used to form the 10 principles of the charter.
Northern Ireland’s charter pole represents the theme of planning – the importance of planning greener local landscapes. A short poem and woodland images twist around the pole. The carefully chosen words were inspired by artist Christine Mackey.
Patrick Cregg, director of the Woodland Trust in Northern Ireland, said: “Belvoir’s new sculpture is a striking and meaningful landmark. Trees and woodland offer so much to our landscapes, wellbeing and even the economy.
“And this is a visual reminder of the importance of trees and the need to put them at the heart of decision-making.
“The last Saturday of November is Tree Charter Day – an annual celebration of all things trees, leading nicely into National Tree Week. We want everyone to notice, and appreciate the value of, trees and woods. It could be as simple as going for a walk in your nearest woodland, or planting a tree in your garden.”
More than 130,000 members of the public have shown support by signing the charter.
n Local people can add their voice and find out more at www.treecharter.uk