Oak 48 Legacy Projects

Reduce...Reuse...Recycle!

Updated 17/01/22

This page will be updated as the projects evolve and are carried out, so please check back regularly.

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WANTED! - Skilled Wood Carvers / Carpenters who can help shape the wood
(see below for which projects)
If this is you and you'd like to Get Involved,
please Contact Us

(select Oak48 Legacy Project as the subject)

This great, English Oak in Victoria Square was estimated to be around 400 years old (predating The Square)... but sadly it has now come to the end of its life.
This page will give the information as to what we are doing to utilise the remains of this tree and honour its presence and history at The Square. To read about the dismantling of the tree, the reason for it, and its history... CLICK HERE.

 

THE PROJECTS

A number of great ideas were put forward as to what we can do with the remains of the tree (including the logs, branches and monolith), some of which have already been done, and others are progressing through their planning stages.
Below is a breakdown of how we are using the different parts, and the projects overseeing these. Also included are the types of projects and activities that we hope will further lead off from them, which will not only help us to ensure these projects are maintained, sustained and used effectively, but also help bring them into interaction with the users and visitors of The Square.

[1] All future projects are potential ones to aim for, and not set at definite. We will keep you informed of which ones become available to follow (and maybe Get Involved with).

 

The Oak-48 Monolith
A Wildlife Ecosystem

Oak 48 was not completely removed, as a section of the trunk (approximately 6m high) known as a Monolith was left behind. The decision to do this was primarily as such a feature can still be beneficial, particularly for wildlife. This has helped to shape the thing we have done with it, and we hope will happen to it in the coming months, which is that it will become a home and haven for wild animals and creatures.

Bird & Bat Boxes

In November 2021 we added a number of these around The Square, including several on the Oak48 Monolith. Late Autumn/Winter is a good time to put them up as it means they will be ready and available for the Spring, when these animals will hopefully be visiting the area, looking for places to roost. We will be monitoring them throughout 2022 for signs of this happening. 
A feature on the types of bird and bat boxes we are using will be added to our Nature of The Square pages at a future date.

 

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FUTURE PROJECTS / ACTIVITIES INVOLVING THESE [1] >
Wildlife (Bird & Bat) Surveys (Including for NLHF, Woodland Scheme & RSPB), Nature Trails, Guided Square Tours, Evening Bat Watches, Schools' Education Resources

Mini-beast Hotel

Mini-beasts (any small creatures commonly referred to as bugs, insects etc.) love living in places where they can feel sheltered and secure. The inside of a tree is an ideal place for many different types that can be found around The Square (and the inside of a decaying tree will also attract those which like that sort of things too.

By leaving the monolith available for them to make into their home, it allows such creatures to survive. And of course any birds, bats and other wildlife using it that like to eat these sorts of things will then be able to find a ready, sustainable source of food.

 

FUTURE PROJECTS / ACTIVITIES INVOLVING THESE [1] >
Mini-beast Surveys, Schools Education Resources

Plants & Fungus - Providing Aid

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A trunk like this can still provide food and nutrients for other things too. If you take a look at it one of the first things you will notice is the Ivy. While this can be an invasive plant in many places, when left to thrive here it can do more than bring a bit of greenery to a dying bit of wood.

Ivy can serve many functions, and for several areas of nature... including the monolith itself. For animals, Ivy can provide food (from leaves and berries), shelter and places to hold onto the tree (birds & climbing animals). Mini-beasts can hide inside the foliage and there overlapping leaves an provide warmth beneath them.

For the tree itself, the ivy can help keep it warm, as well deflect water away from the wood (which could speed up the decay). Because Ivy is a clinging plant that intertwines itself, it will also help add some stability to the trunk... and we don't have to worry about it 'strangling it'.

Minimal Maintenance. While we want to leave the ivy, we will of course keep it in check, as we don't want it swamping the boxes, or becoming 'straggly'. The fungus will be left alone.
 

FUTURE PROJECTS / ACTIVITIES INVOLVING THESE [1] >
Plant / Fungus Surveys, Schools Education Resources

The Decaying Tree - A process to watch.

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FUTURE PROJECTS / ACTIVITIES INVOLVING THIS [1] >
Dying Tree Progress Charting.

One other thing that we can do with The Monolith, is watch it decay. Even this can be an interesting feature, and something to study to help people better understand how a tree that is dying breaks down. As this tree no longer has a need to support its internal system; that in turn helps support its external elements such as leaves and 'fruit' (acorns), and is suffering from an internal rot it will eventually start to break down further, until eventually we will have to remove the bird & bat boxes, and the rest of the tree itself.

How long will this take? Well, that's only something we can find out by watching it. It could be many years, and will depend on any conditions it is subjected too (such as the flooding ground, new exposure from lack of leaf cover, frost, sun, pollution and more...!
(Looking at some of the other monoliths in the Square may help give some idea though).

Of course this tree may surprise us, and... come back to life.
Well... sort of.

It is entirely possible new growth might start appearing on the tree. However, this doesn't necessarily mean it will have recovered. New growth can still occur in a dying tree. This is likely because parts of t he tree are still living, but because the tree no longer has a canopy of leaves to help sustain it, the still living parts may therefore put out shoots and buds as a way of trying to counter-act this. But that may not be enough...

It'll be a slow process, and will only work on a small scale, AND still have the encroaching rot to work against, but it is certainly something worth keeping an eye on as an ongoing observation experiment, and chart any progress it makes.

 
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Large Logs

Furniture (Community Seating)

WANTED! - Skilled / Qualified Wood Carvers who can help make seating etc. using the logs. 
If this is you and you'd like to Get Involved, please Contact Us
(select Oak48 Legacy Project as the subject)

When discussing future additions to The Square, one of the most requested items was...more seating. While we liaised with the VoG about getting some additional traditional benches, we also looked at the large logs we got from this tree, and how we could use them as some 'rustic' style log seating. We may also look to 'construct' other types of furniture, such as tables and footstools, all though keeping the overall log-look.
While some logs can simply be moved into position, others may require chainsaw carving, or cut using a large power saw. None of our members are qualified to do this, or own such equipment.

In 2021, just before Christmas we moved some of the more manageable cuts over to the area beside the Community Garden that became boarded by the extension to the Deadwood Hedge (see also the sections below for how this tree was involved in that). This was done partly in test and partly to see give us some seating for our pre-Christmas gathering. Pictured are the results.
Some of the logs are not level, so will need properly cutting.
We will look to further refine this area into a proper seated space as part of this project.

 

FUTURE PROJECTS / ACTIVITIES INVOLVING THESE [1] >
Community Seating, Education Space, Volunteer Rest Point (/ Coffee circle...)

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While this example is actually from Alexandra Park, and shows the remains of a felled tree simply left in situ, it is a good example of the type of 'communal' layout we would look to create with our wood. 

Art & The Square (Woodcarving)

WANTED! - Skilled Wood Carvers / Carpenters who can help create artwork for The Square.
If this is you and you'd like to Get Involved, please Contact Us
(select Oak48 Legacy Project as the subject)

Artwork can help enhance any space, though for somewhere like The Square it does have to be something that would compliment it, standing out from its surroundings, but not in a jarring way. Fortunately The big logs are ideal to make sculptures and wood carvings from that can do just this.
 

We have no set agenda or ideas at the moment for what types of sculptures we should have, or even where they will be put. These decisions will have to be based on on what a skilled wood-carver can shape from the material, as this will help shape any decisions about placement.

Things we should probably consider include wildlife imagery, such as animals etc. seen at The Square, though other associated images that can be connected to it or Penarth itself (e.g. bears, dragons and other mythical creatures) could also feature.
It will depend on what people can create from the materials available.

 

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The example pictured here is actually found in Alexandra Park and was carved out of a small monolith (sculptor unknown). The types of sculptures and wood carvings we are looking to include will use the cut logs. What we will have carved will be something we'll have to discuss with those who will be doing the work.
 

 

Medium Logs

Bee Hotel

As part of the Deadwood Hedge extension (Noe2021), this odd-looking action (pictured) was done to both ends of of the Oak48 logs added to it. These logs were then placed as seen so both ends are accessible.

These holes serve and important purpose as they offer insects (such as solitary bees*) places to nest. They have been drilled to varying lengths of 2-4 inches (5-10cm), to allow the need of different bees.
 

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You will be able to see which holes contain bees as they will be blocked up. Look out for these from Spring onwards.

Solitary Bees are relatively harmless by the way, and unlikely to sting or bite if they are left alone.
We will add more about these bees in our Nature of The Square pages as and when we start spotting them.

Log Planters

We have selected a number of the longer, thinner logs to be used as frames for large Planters. More details once we have worked out the designs. These will be placed around various points of The Square and will either contain flowers, or edible plants such as herbs, depending on where they are situated.
More Details in a future update.

Wood Chips & Mulch

During the dismantling process, a number of the branches were wood-chipped. These chips were left at The Square for us to use around our young trees (to provide insulation) and Community Garden (to provide a more favourable ground to walk on).
Wood chips can also be added to compost in small quantities as brown (insulating) material.

Sticks & Twigs

 

Deadwood Hedge

Several of the smaller sticks that had broken off when the tree branches were dropped, and were not wood-chipped have been gathered up and added to The Deadwood Hedge, particularly in the extension.

Wood Chips & Mulch

In addition to the wood-chipping done for us, we will also be wood-chipping any sticks left over from the Deadwood hedge extension in order to not only provide some more for the Community Garden, but clear down some of the excess sticks and branches (not just from Oak48) we have built up as stock for this work. Future maintenance of the hedge can be done from other gatherings when needed.