The Peace Woodland – A Living Artwork by Peter Walker Sculptor
Lichfield City 2018 and Limburg an der Lahn Germany 2020
In 2018 to commemorate 100 years since the Armistice Peter Walker Sculptor envisaged the creation of The Peace Woodland. One thousand, nine hundred and eighteen trees (1918) which would be planted as a symbol of hope and peace for future generations. The living artwork that would be the only Peace Woodland outside of Jerusalem.
Working closely with Lichfield District Council Historic Parks Team and Lichfield Cathedral, 1,918 trees were sourced from areas around Lichfield and District which would otherwise have been culled. 1918 being symbolic for the end of the First World War commemorated on November 11th.
The saved trees were potted and kept safely by the parks team with many volunteers who worked to maintain the health of the trees through a hot summer and a freezing winter.
In August 2018 Lichfield Cathedral hosted ‘The Great Exhibition 2018: Imagine Peace’ during the large scale art event Peter Walker created a labyrinth as an art installation outside of the west front of Lichfield Cathedral grounds. The large art installation was made up of the 1,918 trees in pots. The event saw thousands of people visit during eleven nights where the trees were lit with beautiful lighting and accompanied by a sound piece composed by David Harper part of the Luxmuralis artistic collaboration producing the exhibition. Many volunteers and Parks team members helped to move and water the trees during this time and the exhibition was a major success attracting national media attention for the city.
The trees were then to be planted in Beacon Park. A plot of land with wild poppies was chosen for the site and over a series of planting sessions many volunteers and community groups all spent hours over a number of planting sessions helping to plant the trees. Including pupils from Queens Croft school and Ladies from the local Towns Women’s Guild. The trees were sited in a Labyrinth style shape with the central circle including a single Cedar tree (provided Kindly by G-Scapes). A Cedar tree was chosen as it has liturgical links being recognised as the same wood of the crucifixion cross and is a symbol of peace and hope for new life.
Part of the Peace Woodland project involved the gathering of names to be donated in the name of Peace which would be displayed on a bronze plaque in the centre of the Peace Woodland. Hundreds of names of loved ones were donated. Cameron Homes Ltd Kindly provided the construction of the plinth to site the 6ft long bronze plaque.
The development of the Peace woodland has involved thousands of people from all over Lichfield District and beyond to make the Peace woodland happen.
The Peace Woodland was seen by the City of Limburg in North Germany (Lichfield’s twin City) and as a cultural link to the Peace Woodland the mayor of Limburg, Dr Marius Hahn, has worked with Peter Walker to create a link in Germany by planting some further Peace Trees outside of the Cathedral Dom in Limburg. Connecting as a symbol of Peace between Lichfield England and Limburg Germany. A plaque will be sited here also in connection with The Peace Woodland project here in Lichfield in 2020.
Furthermore, more trees have also been sited in Burntwood Park to further the links with the Peace Woodland in Lichfield Beacon Park and its neighbouring town of Burntwood.
In 2019 on Easter Sunday Lichfield Cathedral invited people to walk from Lichfield Cathedral to the Peace Woodland to witness and be part of a blessing ceremony in the name of Peace. The Blessing was made by the Dean of Lichfield The Very Reverend Adrian Dorber and Bishop of Lichfield The Right Reverend Michael Ipgrave attended. Easter eggs were also distributed to the public who attended that day. The occasion was featured on BBC midlands news and ITV central news.
On Tuesday June 4th 2019 the historical occasion of the official opening of the Peace Woodland takes place. With Lichfield District Council leaders, The Dean of Lichfield, and Peter Walker Sculptor officially opening the Peace Woodland and unveiling the plaque. Giving thanks to the many volunteers, community groups and helpers, especially members of the Parks team staff Paul Niven, Timothy Lock, Peter Freeman and Katy Phelps for all they have done.
The Peace Woodland will grow and be a symbol of Hope and a place for Peace for future generations to visit, own and belong. It is a new addition to Lichfield City as a place of leisure and tourism and is also featured on the City Sculpture trail as a permanent living artwork.
Click on an image below for larger version:
Watch a video below: