A FELLED historic tree has been given a new lease of life with a magnificent carving of an owl.

The 100-year-old tree in Holden Woods Antique’s car park in Haslingden was felled on Thursday due to the danger it posed to the public.

A tree surgeon inspecting the tree said, although it was not an immediate threat, it would die in another couple of years and the branches could fall and hurt someone.

The antique centre grabbed the opportunity to get creative and honour the historic tree which has stood over them since they started the family business 24 years ago.

John Ainscough, who runs the centre, said: “It has been dying for a few years and gradually growing less and was a little dangerous to our car park, in case a branch broke and fell on someone’s car.

“So, we got a tree surgeon to look at it. He said there were faults in the tree itself and in the next few years it would die so he recommended it be felled.”

Originally, the plan was to simply cut it down completely, but Mr Ainscough had a sudden thought to turn it into something interesting that would represent the centre as well as the old tree.

The family recruited Karl Barker, from Yorkshire Carving, who spent from 9am until 6.30pm carving out the owl.

Mr Ainscough said: “When we first opened 24 years ago and I was up high on the roof, an owl spooked me. It was a disused church then and we would hear sounds of owls and even bats around the area, it’s quite nice to hear the nature.”

The centre remained open while Mr Barker carried out his skilful carving, with a few people sitting down to watch.

Mr Ainscough said: “The reactions have been amazing, we have had so many people come in and say that was not there before. Karl has done a really good job and said it was the biggest owl he had ever carved. He was there all day in the sunshine and hardly took many breaks.

“We wouldn’t have had it felled if it was a healthy tree, but it has opened up the view nicely now over the carpark.”

The tree has served as a nice staple to the centre’s events such as during the Christmas period where they hung lights onto it.

The family thought the lockdown was the perfect time to carry cut down the tree as they were closed.