A TOTEM pole carved with “creature features” is now welcoming visitors to Ryton Wood.
It was created by chainsaw artist Lorraine Botterill for the nature reserve at Ryton Pools Country Park after Warwickshire Wildlife Trust invited members of the public to submit their ideas for the design.
Standing at 9ft tall and weighing more than three-quarters of a tonne, the post was carved from a Scots pine by Lorraine at her studio near Sheffield before being craned into place.
At the top is a buzzard and other carvings include mushrooms, honeysuckle, a frog, fox, snake, weasel and squirrel, butterflies, bats and a tawny owl.
Lorraine said: “Children will enjoy seeing how many they can spot, and I hope it will inspire visitors and families to take a closer look as they walk through the woods. If they’re quiet and come at the right time they may actually see some of these animals.”
Staff from Warwickshire Wildlife Trust have also been working with Lorraine to do their own chainsaw carving, creating six new benches in the woodland for visitors. They also feature sculptures of local animals and plants.
The project is part of Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Dunsmore Living Landscape scheme, which is funded thanks to a £1million Heritage Lottery Fund grant and an additional £37,000 from WREN, which award funds made available through landfill taxes.
Chris Redstall, Dunsmore Living Landscape manager, said: “We’re excited to put in this sculpture, which creates a magical entrance to this ancient woodland.
“This will be the start of a figure-of-eight trail with carved benches and improved waymarking to help visitors explore the nature on their doorstep.”
Visit www.exploredunsmore.org for further details.