Wood you believe it? Popular tree given a new lease of life as public artwork


A prominent purple Beech tree which was vandalised in 2012 is about to be given a new lease of life as a piece of public art work at the centre of Royston’s Priory Memorial Gardens.

The dead tree today
The damage to the bark

The Beech tree, which had been a firm favourite with users of the park, finally died this year after vandals removed a large section of bark, damaging it beyond repair.

Cllr Peter Burt, NHDC’s Executive Member for Waste Recycling and Environment, said: “The tree had no chance of surviving such a thoughtless incident of vandalism. Creating a sculpture is a wonderful way of salvaging at least some of the distinguished tree and, by working in partnership with all the organisations we aim to bring the people of Royston a  piece of public artwork that will be admired for years to come.”

Dennis Heath, a sculpture who works for Knebworth House, has been commissioned to carry out the work. Mr Heath met with representatives from North Hertfordshire District Council (NHDC) and Royston Town Council’s Naturally Royston Working Party this week to discuss the options available. It has been confirmed however, that the artwork will be around four meters in height.

John O’Conner Grounds Maintenance has very generously donated £1,500 towards the cost of the artwork.  NHDC are aiming to start work on reducing the tree to retain the main trunk next week and the carving of the artwork is due to start shortly afterwards.

Susan Thornton Bjork, Royston Town  Clerk said: “Following our initial meeting last week, Mr Heath will be coming up with a number of possibilities for the subject of the sculpture to present to all the partners involved with the project. We will then make a decision jointly on the select art work. We are sure that the artwork will be a real attribute to the gardens.”


**UPDATE 04/10/16**

After walking past the tree this morning in the glorious sunshine, the tree is now having work done to it! We can’t wait to see what it’s going to turn into!



**UPDATE 7/12/16**

The tree is now complete! The design features Royston’s icon the crow, the Royston Stone and features some detailed artwork including an owl and some flowers for the Priory Gardens. It looks totally transformed! Take a look at our images and pop down to Priory Gardens to check out this beautiful sculpture.img_20161207_085259