elephant tree 024A red painted blob has appeared on the trunk of one of my favourite trees: the elephant tree which stands at the junction of five paths between Wye and Crundale, near Marriage Farm.

A signpost tree, its magnificent branches seem to point down the various paths, as if helping you on your way. It stands in a splendid position, right at the crown of the hill, a perfect spot for travellers to rest and enjoy some shade.

I think it’s an ash because it has a smooth bark and black buds, and I’m thinking that the red dot means that it will be removed: a casualty of ash dieback fungal disease, which, as you can see from this page, has become prevalent in the area.

Ash is the tree of the magicians. Ash is the trident of the sea-gods Manawyddan/Mananaan (Welsh/Irish) and Poseidon. Ash gives power in this world which is why Iron Age warriors preferred ash spears to the Neolithic yew spears. The presence of Ash stimulates the imagination, gives daring ideas and invokes a thirst for action.

The Ash serves in the interplay of Sun and water, but the tree’s secret is not the heart of the fire, or the depth of the water, but the connection between them. The Spirit of Ash connects, links and bridges – the inner and the outer world, above and below, far and near, male and female.       (The Spirit of Trees – Hageneder) 

About jasperbouverie

I am Jasper Bouverie. I have two blogs: which is about promoting sustainability in the village of Wye in Kent (and beyond); and which I will fill with short films dedicated to promoting social and environmental awareness and change. Find me on Twitter: funderfilms and finelinej
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2 Responses to THE ELEPHANT TREE

  1. Cate Parish says:

    I knew immediately what tree it is from the photo, and was inspired to go and have another look at it. It’s tragic that mighty trees are so vulnerable to a little virus.

    Jasper, I appreciate your writing about local issues, or just things you notice.

    In response to another recent post, about how the college land around the Kempe Centre might be developed, I actually like the way the buildings around there have gone derelict. I like looking over the barbed wire fence and speculating about what might be growing in the greenhouses–triffids would be interesting. There’s also that nice row of old buildings that back onto the allotments, kind of reminiscent of Venice. Now that Wimpy is lurking around speculating, I feel I have to appreciate it all quickly, because none of it makes anybody any money and so what good is it? Maybe it could be preserved as a Heritage Centre, to show people in 2130 what an agricultural college used to look like?

    • Thanks Cate for your comment. I agree that it’s sad to see these trees go. I was looking at an ordnance survey map yesterday and found that this tree is actually marked on the map – Ash – just north of Marriage Farm.

      On your other point, I also agree that we shouldn’t knock down the village heritage without careful consideration – even if, to some, we might be dealing with a bunch of old sheds. In the autumn I had the dubious pleasure of visiting Kings Hill near West Malling. This is a development that was built on a World War II aerodrome and developers were allowed to exploit the area with absolutely no regard to its history. The only surviving building with any reference to the place’s past is the 1930’s control tower – but this has been so heavily bunched-in by other buildings as to make it meaningless. In fact it’s unlikely that any casual visitor would know what it was.

      Happily I think all those connected to the Neighbourhood Plan have a keen awareness of Wye’s history and such disregard is unlikely to happen here. I like the idea of keeping a couple of the greenhouses going as an exhibition space – with sweet-smelling tropical plants? I was looking at the loading ramp the other day and wondering if it could be incorporated into a children’s play area… such attention to small detail will give any development character. It’s great that Mark Hanton and Andy Macfee are interested such ideas for the village plan. And there are encouraging signs that Imperial too are responsive to such thoughts.

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