Plans have been put forward for a new war memorial in the middle of a Herefordshire village made from the trunk of a memorial tree which stood at the same spot.

A planning application by Pembridge Parish Council explains that locally based sculptor Ed Elliott has been commissioned to create a sculpture from the Verdun Oak, which stood opposite the Trafford Almshouses in the village.

This was grown from an acorn gathered from Verdun in northern France, scene of one of the costliest battles of the First World War.

In 2020, the 101-year-old tree was struck by lightning which split the trunk, leaving it unsafe to passing traffic. Last year the trunk was cut down and taken to a nearby barn to prevent it deteriorating further.


Local farmer Tony Norman, who has led the project, said: “Thinking we had tacit approval from the council we removed the stump of the tree for carving and cleared the site ready to start work. However, it was then decided that planning permission would be required.”

He said he hoped this would be granted by mid-May, with the plinth will be built and the sculpture in place by the end of the year.

The base of the sculpture will take the form of a round stone seat.

The parish council has already contributed £750 to the work, with the remaining funding expected to come from private individuals, local business and grants.

Mr Elliott, who has begun work on the sculpture, said he was “in love with the story” of the tree.

While there had been some outer damage to its partly split trunk, “it’s important to use the actual tree, marking the end of its life”, he said.

Comments on the planning application, numbered 230893, can be made until May 12.