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Celebrating Nature And Community 

In 2022-2024 we ran the celebrating nature and community project with huge thanks to the National Lottery Community Foundation. As part of the project we developed the Community Tree ID booklet, sharing and celebrating the experiences, skills and knowledge of our volunteers and members of the community and peoples relationship with trees. We worked with our core team of volunteers to interview participants, run sessions, develop the booklet, transcribe contributions and select the final print, and received stories, poems and thoughts from volunteers, participants and supporters from across North and West Yorkshire. With thanks to our volunteers, Thirsk Community Woodland Group, Kirklees Council, Huddersfield University, 4 Scots Battalion.     

Here is a selection of the final contributions we received during the project.   

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OAK

 

Our favourite tree is this oak. 

Nina - Why? Because “you can go in it, explore it, pretend it’s a den, or a fairy house and a little ant house and acorns grow from it. It made me happy and I still remember it”
Heidi - Why? “It’s the most magical tree I’ve ever seen and had the joy of seeing Nina explore. It made the air lighter. Memories of a wholesome day collecting acorns at Ripley Castle” (with Kindlewoods, September 2022) 

 

This Oak is my thinking tree, somewhere to sit under and take in life. In the field across from mine. 

Richard Jeffrey, KindleWoods Volunteer 2024

Silver Birch

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Rubyy, KindleWoods Youth Ambassador 2024

 

I have a silver birch in my back garden. I noticed today that the leaves are tiny little buds and they're just about to pop and unfurl - it will be magic when they do, but at the moment it feels like a pregnant pause.... awaiting the excitement of fluttery silver birch leaves!

Bryony Holroyd, 2024

Scots Pine

 

I don’t really have a favourite tree, but if there are a stand of trees I return to more often than any other, it’s the Scots Pines on Lady Hill and the Scots Pines on the shores of Buttermere. There’s an absolute joy in the way they reach for the sky, and they always seem to be guardians, of what I don’t really know. Their shape and texture draw me to them, but in fairness to all other trees, so do all other trees. I think it comes down to how joyful they are, a firework of a tree, or a skinny guy with an Afro in an orange tracksuit.

Dan Short, KindleWoods Acorn Collector, 2024

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There are two on the moor on the walk I do everyday. They seem totally out of place and when i first moved here i couldn't enjoy them. There aren't many trees near me, a few sections of willow scrub, a bit of alder. I love these Scots pine now because they lead your eye right to a view Pen y Ghent. I love listening to the owls that perch in them and they provide a deep, comforting green in an otherwise brown and (seemingly) barren moorland landscape. 

 

 

Fiona Mayles Busfield, 2024

In my time on the west coast Scots pine always filled me with pause & hope. In a landscape that has been razored by deer & where non native commercial species dominate, they stand out completely. Gnarly and majestic, they are beacons of a forgotten time. I can see the past but also the future. If Scotland can be wrestled back from private ownership and then these exceptionally magic places can become wild once more. I love Scots Pine and it will forever hold both past and promise. 

Hannah Mcdonald 2024

The Scot’s pine or Pinus sylvestris has an orange tinge near the top of the tree. I used to live in Scotland and I would have seen them in most of the woodlands I went to or even on hillsides too.

Josh Burton, KindleWoods Volunteer 2024

ALDER

BLACK POPLAR

HAZEL

One of the first Kindlewoods projects I was able to help with was the restoration of some derelict
coppiced hazels in a wood near Knaresborough.


I learned how to spot the stubby, multi-stemmed hazels by their rounded heart shaped leaves.
Sort of hairy with saw-toothed edges.

I remembered the hazelnuts in the orange string bags of mixed nuts which, for some reason, we
only ever got at Christmas. Then hunting high and low for the nutcrackers before we could eat
them. Perhaps we should have kept them with the Christmas decorations?

 

I also learned something fascinating. Some of the coppiced trees were very, very old having
long outlived the normal span of the hazel. It seems the regular cutting back for poles , hurdles
and fencing etc. encourages vigorous new growth.

 

It seemed to me a mutually beneficial relationship between man and nature we may have lost
track of.

 

Rob Foster, KindleWoods Staff, 2024

Every time I meet Hazel I greet her with gratitude for what she provides. She grows tall and broad leaved, escaping the neat hedgerows, first showing off her green catkins in spring, and later her nuts, usually in clusters and always wrapped in leafy husks. If you're quick, you'll beat the squirrels to these treats! Not only does Hazel give us food but useful materials too. Coppiced, she will yield long poles that can be used for building hurdles, supports and fences, or split to make whisket baskets. Food, the means to carry it and shelter too! Hazel will always be my queen.

Catherine Howell, 2024

HORSE CHESTNUT (Sycamore, Sweet Chestnut, Oak and ASH!) 

Ye Olde chestnut tree, in Pontypool Park, you walk upto it with a held anticipated breath, because you understand the weight of its glory and story. With a hollow centre you may step inside your mini tree cathedral and like its branches raise your arms and give praise to the sky. MAJESTIC

Hannah Michelle, 2024

WILLOW

Memories of a Willow Tree
 

In the heart of a meadow, where waters softly flow,

Stood a willow, graceful, its branches bowed low.

Its leaves whispered secrets to the rippling stream,

A sanctuary of solace, a place to dream.

 

Beneath its sweeping canopy, I found solace there,

Amidst the gentle rustle, a burdensome air

Would lift from my shoulders, like worries set free,

As the willow's embrace enveloped me.

 

Its branches, like arms, reached out to hold,

A comfort in moments when life seemed bold.

In the sway of its branches, I found peace,

As troubles and sorrows began to cease.

 

In the heat of summer, its shade was cool,

A refuge from life's relentless whirlpool.

And when autumn's colours painted the sky,

The willow stood steadfast, never asking why.

 

Through seasons of change, it remained serene,

A silent sentinel in a world too keen.

As I grew older, its lessons I'd learn,

In the willow's presence, my soul would yearn.

 

Now, as I recall those days gone by,

The memory of the willow makes me sigh.

For though time has passed and years have flown,

Its spirit within me has ever grown.

 

In the whispers of leaves and the gentle sway,

I find echoes of the willow's way.

A reminder of strength, of resilience, of grace,

Forever cherished in this sacred space.

Ian Barclay, 2024

When I was little my Gran lived in a town where water ran close to the houses and people had little bridges to the road which was lined with weeping willows. The road led to a ford where we would play with buckets and catch minnows. I used to say "Can we see the Talking Trees?" No-one really knew why I called them that but 3 year old me could hear them, whispering in the wind. The kindest, gentlest of trees that you can hide away in when their fringes reach the floor.

Nansy Ferret-Paine, 2024

Oak

I have always admired the oak tree and its endurance and longevity....

 

In September 2022 I lost my darling 30 years old nephew Darren. Darren was born with Lennox Gastut syndrome which manifested in daily seizures and mobility issues. Darren was non-verbal but could still be understood!

He died so suddenly and unexpectedly that it rocked everyone's world. Darren was 6 foot 5 inches tall and was the biggest guy in our family. He endured so many barriers and challenges in his short life, but everyone who met him had their life enriched just by his presence Just as I feel about the magnificent oak

Siobhan Woodland

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