On Saturday the 25th of November, Bute Park welcomed its latest asset: a 15ft high wooden pole. The pole was given by the Woodland Trust, which recently launched the Charter for Trees, Woods and People.

Bute Park is proud to be part of such a historical event and celebrated the arrival of the wooden pole and its ceremonial unveiling with a variety of events for all young and old tree lovers. The Charter Pole represents one of the ten principles of the Charter for Trees, Woods and People. In particular it celebrates and represents the power of trees to inspire.

The Charter Pole in Bute Park is carved with Sophie McKeand’s poem Commissioned as part of the wider project supported by the Woodland Trust to listen closer to our trees and unlock the stories they would tell. Sophie, who is the Young People’s Laureate Wales, performed her poem after the unveiling of the pole and highlighted that “[Bute Park] is where I find my inspirations”.

The event kicked off with a Family Tree Walk, which saw children exploring the different trees of Bute Park. Despite the cold, everyone was impressed with how beautiful the leaves’ colours came to light in the sun. Meriel Jones, Education Officer, guided the children and grown-ups around Bute Park, explaining the individual characteristics of the trees on the tour and answering questions of keen explorers.

Everyone enjoyed their family walk; it allowed families to experience the beauty and importance of trees, touch and feel how different their trunks and barks are and to learn some tree facts like ‘some trees such as Redwood are that strong they can even survive fire‘.

During the walk everyone was busy with activities. Children creating ‘leaf kebabs’ by collecting colourful leaves along the way. Families were given pieces of green home-made natural playdough with which they made the trees come to life with faces, mushrooms and caterpillars.

Some were particularly intrigued by the Champion Trees around the park, which are crowned with a tag. Champion trees are those trees which either have the tallest specimen recorded in the British Isle or have the largest trunk girth measured at 1.5m off the ground. They can be classified as champions for their rarity.

Given the cold weather, families could warm up and get refreshments with Pettigrew Tea Rooms. Along with home-made alcohol-free mulled wine, there was a great selection of brownies and pasties, as well as some warm roasted chestnuts, creating the perfect welcoming atmosphere.

At midday the Seasonal Tree Walk started for anyone who had an interest in trees and wanted to gather more knowledge, joined by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff himself. The walk was led by Malcolm Frazer, a retired Cardiff Council tree officer, who was able to tell intriguing stories around some of the trees, their purpose and where they were often planted. Who would have known that graveyards were purposely built around Yew trees? This walk was full of insight even for those who were already quite familiar with the trees in Bute Park.

Before the unveiling ceremony of the Tree Charter Pole, Pibau Planed were setting the mood with their folk music whilst everyone warmed up with some refreshments from the tearooms. The musician then led everyone to the Tree Charter Pole for the unveiling.

Here, everyone was welcomed by Bute Park Manager Julia Sas before being addressed by Lord Mayor Cllr Derbyshire. Jerry Langford, Director of Wales Woodland Trust, spoke and gave information on the Tree Charter, before welcoming Sophie McKeand to perform her poem, the outcome of the “The Stories They Would Tell“ project.

The event was a huge success. It was an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of protecting trees and woodland, to act responsibly and sustainably so that future generations can enjoy Bute Park just like those who attended the Tree Charter Celebration Event on Saturday.

To close the event Julia Sas, Bute Park Manager, announced the subsequent exhibition “The Stories They Would Tell’ at Cardiff Story Museum. The fascinating exhibition will chart the history of Bute Park across the lifetime of one of the park’s oldest trees, a sweet chestnut tree that fell in January 2017.

The exhibition is open Saturday the 2nd of December to 25th February, 10am to 4pm, at the Old Library in the Hayes.


Published: 08 December 2017

By: Tirza Kreuwel