Carved oak tree sculpture at Blackthorpe Barn
This sculpture tells the amazing story of the secret life of the forest floor of an ancient wood, both above and below the ground.
Life above and beneath the forest floor
Ancient forests have developed since the last ice age 10,000 years ago. Because the soil on the forest floor has remained virtually undisturbed for all this time, nature has been free to do what it wished. The underground root systems of these trees and plants have become interconnected by the extraordinary magic of mycorrhizal fungi.
The trees are able to communicate with each other and are able to help each other, if there are any that are suffering from some problem such as lack of water, by sharing their water between them. We are only now discovering how a wood or forest is really one huge organism which, if undisturbed, can last for thousands of years. A precious remnant by bygone days that is hugely relevant now and even more so for all our futures.
The tree used to tell this story is an oak, which was itself about four hundred years old. It sadly had to be felled as it was getting dangerous and it grew beside a roadway putting people’s lives in danger. It has now been repurposed to tell the wonderful story of our ancient woodlands.
Open like a book
It has been cut down its entire length to open it up like a book. Like a book too, it is telling us a story. The wonderful story of life below the ground in an ancient wood.
On the Rougham Estate we have over 110 acres of ancient and semi-natural woodland, which we proudly treasure and look after to the best of our ability.
This sculpture was commissioned by the Rougham Estate and has been created by Heaven Sculpture Yard to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Crafts at Blackthorpe Barn in 2021. It was opened 6 November 2021.