July 2, 2014, by sustainablenottingham

Down but not out

When an ancient beech tree atop The Downs finally succumbed to disease and decay, the Estate Office was determined that the centuries-old landmark should not be forgotten.

The tree is a link to the landscape’s past long before it became a University campus. Indeed Lenton Close, the last private house to be built on University Park, was designed specifically to take in the view of The Downs and the ancient beech tree that for centuries stood at the top of the rolling wildflower meadow.

Nottingham-based artist Errol Morris was commissioned to work with the old tree and produce a lasting tribute that could be enjoyed by staff and students for years to come.

Errol Morris and the bench he created

Errol Morris and the bench he created

“We wanted to create a bench, so it had to be a practical as well as a sculptural design,” says Errol. “At the same time there are a lot of features that I’ve left and kept the form out of respect for the old tree. It will be here well after I’ve gone. The tree was hundreds of years old and I hope it will be here for hundreds of years to come.”

Martyn Lloyd, Grounds Maintenance Manager, said: “The seating will serve as a long term reminder of this fantastic old tree. Using it in this way not only provides an artistic sculpture but we’re making use of the tree and retaining a relationship with the landscape.”

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