Posts Tagged ‘2000 year-old lime’

Celebrating Westonbirt’s 2000 Year Old Lime: by Katrina Podlewska, Communications Manager

Monday, March 4th, 2013

This March at Westonbirt Arboretum, renowned artist and sculptor Richard Harris will be creating a sculpture over 10 metres in height to celebrate one of Britain’s oldest trees – the arboretum’s 2000 Year Old Lime located here in Silk Wood.

Artist Richard Harris

Creation of the sculpture will involve the use of hundreds of huge stems cut recently as part of the traditional management process of the small-leaved lime (Tilia cordata) called coppicing. Coppicing is the periodic cutting-back of tree stems to encourage healthy re-growth and longevity. It’s this management process which has allowed this particular tree to live this long.

The sculpture will remain at the site of the 2000 Year Old Lime in Silk Wood for the next 5 to 10 years whilst the lime stems re-grow.

Work on the sculpture’s supporting structure started in late February. Westonbirt’s Tree Team helped Richard Harris to secure the steel cylindrical supporting frame into place.

Installing the supporting frame

Richard is now working with a group of volunteers to secure the lime stems to the frame. The volunteer group are a mix of Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum and local artists or those simply interested in helping out on the project.

Volunteers positioned on a platform about five metres off the ground are helping to winch the stems into position. The stems are then secured to the frame using wire. Things seem to be going to plan – working on about 10-20 stems per day, Richard Harris expects the sculpture to be finished by 15 March.

Over the next few days we will use the Westonbirt Tree Team’s ‘cherry picker’, or mobile elevated platform, to try and get some ariel shots of the sculpture. In the meantime, here are a few photos from the ground and a sketch of the planned sculpture to get an idea of how this work of art is taking shape.

Hundreds of cut stems to be used in the sculptureSecuring the stems onto the frameSecuring the stemsRichard Harris sketch of 2000 Year Old Lime sculpture

Useful links:
Find out more about the artist, Richard Harris
Find out more about the 2000 Year Old Lime

Wooden Wonders part four: lemon and lime? by Kate Cashmore

Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Westonbirt, The National Arboretum, is full of magnificent trees.

As part of our half term Wooden Wonders event taking place from 14 – 16 February, Kate Cashmore from Westonbirt’s learning team has created a trail which will help you find out about our hidden wonders.

Here, she highlights some of the Wooden Wonders that you can discover when you follow the trail.

No, the British lime is not related to the fruit tree. But it is still a very useful tree.

Although it is a hardwood, the timber is relatively soft, and is sought after for carving as it can be worked into very smooth, fine detail, for example leaves and flowers on friezes.      


Lime trees have been coppiced for thousands of years, and if you walk into Silk Wood, you can see a lime thicket which is from one tree, 2000 years old. The inner bark is strong and fibrous and can be twisted into rope or even woven into cloth for clothes.

Useful links
Find out more about the Wooden Wonders event
Buy great value Friends of Westonbirt Arboretum membership
More great activities for families