Many people will remember ‘Tea at the Tree’ on Good Friday back in April, when we launched Lonely Tree – My Story – a collection of stories and photographs celebrating Llanfyllin’s Lonely Tree – the old Scots Pine on Greenhall Hill that had been felled in the great storm of February 2014. What we didn’t know then was whether along with our celebration we were also commemorating the end of a long life. The tree was very old and it had fallen with such a crash that many of its branches and most of its roots were broken. We thought that a few roots were still connected to the fallen trunk and these were quickly covered with soil, but would these roots find enough water on the rocky hilltop? The Lonely Tree had survived centuries of storms, droughts and lightning, but could it survive such a blow as this?
Lonely Tree lives….
The answer, it looks like, is….yes. Our Lonely Tree is tenacious and it won’t go without a fight. If you walk up to the tree now, you will find that it has been carefully fenced to keep the sheep out – a difficult job because of the rock – and that, to quote Peter Lewis of Greenhall who organised the fencing,
“ I believe a third of tree is dead, third undecided, third is living.”
The dry summer isn’t helping, of course, but there’s a very good chance that Lonely Tree will survive to give delight to more generations. Does it look a bit sad and diminished inside its fence? Certainly it looks different, but there is still the tall, handsome crown reaching diagonally towards the sky and there are branches to climb and the beautiful mottled trunk to sit on and admire the view. And the tree might ‘phoenix’ – a ‘new’ tree might rise from the fallen one. It’s a new and interesting chapter in the life of our Lonely Tree – and not the end of the story.
….on the Square
Here’s another way that Lonely Tree lives on. It’s likely that the tree will soon be appearing in dramatic form on the Town Square. For some time, our Town Council have been wondering how to encourage visitors to stop instead of just driving through Llanfyllin. The Council had put money aside to keep the public toilets open but now that Powys County Council have backed down on this, the money could be spent on erecting, on the Square, a very dramatic 3-dimensional layered representation of….the Lonely Tree! It will be big and bold, made of steel and stand where the Christmas Tree goes – except at Christmas. See the pictures here and comment on the website or to the Town Clerk. It’s really worth a look.
….in the High School
And another inspiring role for our Lonely Tree. Moving from small Primary Schools to large High Schools can be a real worry for children and parents. I had an email from Jane Armstrong at the High School to say that,
“We thought you’d like to hear about the plans to link in with the Lonely Tree theme for this summer. Inspired by the Lonely Tree…we are planning a ‘worry tree’ for our incoming year 6 pupils. This is an attempt to ‘normalise’ children’s concerns about coming to high school. We are creating a tree from which we will hang tags containing any worries that the children have about transition to high school….The decorated tree will stand in the foyer as a reminder to all that moving to high school can be difficult (which is normal) but it’s also exciting with lots of new opportunities.”
This is a caring and imaginative idea from the school – which, incidentally, already has a Lonely Tree Theatre Club.
….and in all of Wales!
And finally, we had exciting news last month from National Trust Wales who told us that the Lonely Tree had made the final top 10 shortlist in their major summer campaign: Special Places. This is a national competition to get people talking about and voting for their own ‘special place’ in Wales. The list was announced at the Royal Welsh Show and the winner will be announced at this year’s National Eisteddfod on Wednesday 6th August. So cast a vote for our Lonely Tree – our own very Special Place – and show everyone what we all know – that Lonely Tree Lives! Vote at the Corner Shop in Llanfyllin or go online to llanfyllin.org/NTvote
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