I noticed this tree last year when the leaves were on it, its still exposed to the elements at present so I have used a bit of artistic licence and given it some leaves.
I wondered why it was all on its own, a few miles from Bucklers Hard where Admiral Nelsons ships in times long ago were built, stripping the New Forest of all the trees to protect our shores, why had they left this one? Was it special or was there a little sympathy back then for this magnificent tree growing on the cliff tops, perhaps sheltering the men on a lunch break in the midday sun. I wonder if Henry Adams looked on its beautifully shaped branches and couldn’t bring himself to see them shattered with cannon at the battles out in the English Channel.
The roots finding support for its massive girth probably reaching depths as great as half its height, its stood looking over the water for centuries through storms and hot summers watching over the busy shipping lane, many a sailor I have been told using it as a land mark for home.
There are, I am told, tunnels running for miles under these cliffs that smugglers used back long ago. As I sat there drawing, the little grey cells were working overtime, as I imagined the custom men gathering under its branches ready to pounce upon the hapless smugglers from the hamlet of Beaulieu a few miles away.
Some may think it foolish, they would say ‘it’s just a tree for goodness sake’, but to me its something to cherish, to admire its beauty and the fact it has survived for so long without being damaged is a marvel in itself with all the destruction of our forests and parks in recent years. There are plans I know to widen this lane down to the beach, to construct a car park for the jet skiers using the bay, which will bring in revenue for the council coffers no doubt, and a little bit more of our lovely country, with all the unwritten history with it, will disappear.
Will anyone shed a tear as the chainsaws bite into its trunk, I doubt it, there certainly is no one around that remembers when a little sapling sprouted from an acorn five or six hundred years ago on this spot, to remember the young tree bursting into the sunlight as it shed the first fruits from its branches.
I know, I know, I am an old softy.
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