On August 20 a delegation of Rob’s friends and family travelled to Victory Wood, near Whitstable in Kent, to visit the oaken bench and newly-planted oak tree that commemorate Rob’s life and legacy. Funds for this Woodland Trust memorial were raised by generous donation from Rob’s family, friends, and fans of his work.
This is the bench on the site:
Here’s the plaque that appears on the bench:
Rob’s oak is just a sapling currently, and here is the marker beside it:
Here’s the view from the bench:
Here is some information from the Woodland Trust about Victory Wood:
Victory Wood sits between 2 separate areas of Ancient Woodland, Blean Wood to the western side, and Ellenden Wood to the east and this is part of the Blean Woods Complex or “The Blean”. “The Blean” contains an important concentration of ancient woodlands covering over 3,000 hectares, and this is the largest continuous wooded area in Kent, forming a mosaic of woodland and farmland in an arc along the north side of Canterbury. To the north of Victory Wood lies Graveney Marshes and Sea Salter Level which are dedicated as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and RAMSAR sites due to their importance for wildfowl and as a salt marsh habitat.
Victory Wood, at the time of purchase consisted of 133.04ha of grade 3 arable land and 7.59ha of existing woodland. There had been a proposal by the previous owners to make the site into a Landfill Site but this was never granted Planning Permission. During 2005-2008 Victory Wood became a major woodland creation site when secondary woodland was established through extensive community efforts over approximately 80ha along the southern boundary. This new wood now links together Blean Wood and Ellenden Wood once more. These 2 woods had been connected up until the early to mid 20th Century, when the ancient woodland was cut down in a piecemeal way and converted to agriculture when it was part of Lamberhurst Farm.
Rob’s friend Christopher Priest has also written a blog post about the visit to the bench and tree. He says:
It is a glorious tribute to a great man and a fine writer. … The bench is located high on the ridge close to what is identified on the map as “Clay Hill viewpoint”; there is a commemorative metal plate, together with a few lines from one of Rob’s best poems. The oak (which is as yet barely two feet high) is further to the east, close to what will be the perimeter of the new wood.
Once again, many thanks to everyone who contributed and made this happen. If any of you wish to visit, sit upon the bench, and enjoy the view, the ordnance map reference for the bench is TR092613, and the tree is TR095619.
Here is a rough map to their location: