NEWENT Lake is set to be bought to life this winter with a series of new sculptures celebrating local flora and fauna.

The town council has commissioned the sculptures as part of works to enhance the lake and adjacent woods, which have “long been a haven for wildlife and nature” in the centre of the town.

The idea came about after the council identified a prominent oak tree at the site which was nearing the end of its life.

Newent Mayor Councillor Christine Howley explained: “The lake is home to many magnificent old trees.

“Eventually old trees fall down, and last year we identified that a lovely old Turkey Oak on the lake shore was nearing the end of its life.

“Standing on the side of a well-used footpath, the tree had to come down before it became dangerous.

“But we didn’t want to lose it.”

So the council began the search for an artist who could “make something beautiful” out of the tree.

And “after much deliberation”, internationally-acclaimed sculptor Daniel Cordell was chosen.

A council spokesperson said of the sculptor: “Although Daniel’s skills are broad, he’s instinctively drawn to wood and has specialised in large scale green wood carving and constructing.

“Daniel generally uses timber from trees that are deemed dead, damaged or dangerous, including those that are still standing, so he seemed an ideal choice for the project.”

After the lakeside tree was made safe, Daniel set about carving a host of animals, birds and fish out of the still-standing trunk.

The sculpture was completed in just a week, using mainly a chainsaw, ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June.

Further sculptures, all celebrating local wildlife and made from the same tree, are being positioned around the lake, and it is hoped that they can form the basis of a free sculpture and nature trail.

A formal unveiling ceremony will mark the installation of the final works next month.

The spokesperson added: “The works already in place are proving a hit with locals and visitors and a great addition to the town’s burgeoning arts scene.”

Newent now boasts two independent art galleries, and plans are being put in place for a town arts festival in conjunction with local group Canopy Arts.

Canopy secured a £2,500 grant from Forest of Dean District Council last month to help cover the costs of the festival, which is set to take place next spring.