Visitors have been given their first look at Lichfield’s new Peace Woodland.
Located in Beacon Park, the opening event for the woodland took place yesterday (4th June) in front of 300 invited guests.
The opening event included speeches, the unveiling of the six-foot bronze plaque featuring 1,300 names, as well as music from the cathedral choir, directed by Ben Lamb.
Designed by Lichfield Cathedral’s artist in residence Peter Walker as a permanent living artwork, and planted and cared for by Lichfield District Council’s parks team and volunteers, the woodland has been created to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.
The Dean of Lichfield Cathedral, the Very Revd Adrian Dorber, said: “The Peace Woodland was at the heart of our Armistice year here at Lichfield Cathedral.
“We are grateful to everyone who chose to sponsor and dedicate a tree and be part of this peace project during 2018.
“We also thank Lichfield District Council and all the volunteer tree planters who have brought this vision to reality.
“I hope the Peace Woodland will become a potent symbol; one that reminds us of the sacrifices made in war, and our ambition always to strive for peace, for freedom, and for hope.”
The Peace Woodland has been planted with a mix of trees, including Birch, Cherry, and Oak, with a Cedar of Lebanon, donated by G-Scapes, taking centre place.
“A place to be peaceful and to contemplate”
Peter Walker, Lichfield Cathedral’s artist in residence, said: “Memorials and monuments are made of metal and stone and wood. The Peace Woodland however is an artwork made of young living trees that will grow and prosper.
“It is a place to be peaceful and to contemplate and to think about peace and for those who have dedicated names, to think about family and friends.
“It is a unique and individual place that says so much about how peace is at the centre of how so many of us want to live our lives.”
The woodland is also the only one of its kind outside of Jerusalem.
Councillor Iain Eadie, deputy leader at Lichfield District Council, said: “Seeing the Peace Woodland now that it has been completed and the trees have come into leaf shows what a massive undertaking it has been.
“It’s a beautiful way for the district to mark the centenary of the First World War and gives a space to contemplate the great loss of war and the shared mission for peace.
“On behalf of the council we’d like to thank the whole team at Lichfield Cathedral, especially artist Peter Walker, and all of the hard working volunteers who have helped us to plant the stunning woodland.”