THREE new totem poles were erected in Stonehaugh after a dedicated community effort.

As part of Forestry England’s centenary celebrations, the Stonehaugh village community marked the occasion by officially revealing the new totem poles while also planting a mini forest, as well as hosting a local heritage display in the village hall.

Recognised as a distinctive landmark in the village, the Stonehaugh totem poles have been an important feature since 1971, 20 years after the village was constructed to house Forestry Commission workers establishing Kielder Forest.

After the wooden structures were cut down last year due to decay, Wark Parish Council worked with Forestry England and local businesses, including Hexham's Egger UK, to create three new poles.

Now reinstalled at the Warksburn picnic area, it is hoped their lifespan will be increased by inserting lengths of water main pipe into the ground to act as collars and protect against future rot.

Coun. Steve Batey, Stonehaugh ward member on Wark Parish Council, coordinated the project involving foresters, transporters, carvers, sponsors, and the local community.

“Each pole is different – one traditional, one incorporating Wark Primary School children’s ideas, and one depicting animals to represent the local wildlife,” he said.

After being felled by Dockray Forestry, the trees were transported by local haulage company R&H Scott to Wood Actually in Minsteracres, and its carver Simon Jackson.

The poles were then transported to the Northumberland County Show in May for public viewing before being erected in Stonehaugh last week.

Michael Murray, a former forestry worker, received an original Forestry Commission plan for the village, which said around 200 houses, a church, school, shop and pub would be built, but only 35 houses were built along with a social club and village hall.

John Paterson, director of Egger Forestry, said: “We are proud to have been involved in supporting the community and the creation and installation of the new totem poles.”