It is not often you come across something special, but today was that day when walking along the shore at Fort Victoria Country Park I came across David Wallace and his horizontal tree carving. Horizontal as the sea is ever encroaching on the land and the holm oaks are forever slip sliding into the sea.
David has taken to carving the fallen trees and this one is of the animal life of the Solent, both past and present. David stopped work for a moment and we counted how many species he had done. 24, no it was 25 in all as he had forgotten to count the seal at the base of the tree.
I came back later in the day as David had kindly allowed me to take photos of him and his work. Whilst there I watched him engage with passers by enthralled by his work – he really is knowledgeable about the marine environment and people keep asking questions – often he spends more time talking to people than carving – but then it is all voluntary, so there are no targets to keep.
It’s the ‘aquarium’ for the ranger explained David – much easier to illustrate what lives in the sea than from any book or a picture. David has been carving since 8 years old, mostly public works of art with the occasional private commission. The Solent carving has taken two months and he says he will keep going until it is finished or indeed until it gets washed away by the sea.
A passer-by asked me what my favourite carving was, I immediately said the limpet, but on second thoughts it’s probably the sand slater or maybe even the stingray…
Location: Fort Victoria Country Park, Isle of Wight.
Addendum: This year we celebrate the Countryside Act’s 50th Anniversary. One of the outcomes of the Act was the creation of Country Parks – and a key component of Country Parks was enjoyment of the countryside and I reckon David Wallace’s work is a fine example of Country Parks in action today.
UPDATE: On the night of October 17th someone came to the Country Park sawed the carving from its trunk and stole the lovely carving and took it away. Now all that remains of David’s work of all Summer long is a tree stump. If you ever get offered or see anything resembling David’s tree carving from the pics above please inform the Police.