The first half of 2020 has been very unusual. Living in Devon we are used to a mass influx of people from spring onwards, as the weather improves. It has been very quiet and unique this year. We have been very aware of how blessed we are to live near the sea in a beautiful part of the country.
As lockdown has been eased and the return of tourists has begun, we’ve taken a trip to the Cotswolds on our first outing this year. The focus of our attention, being tree mad, is Westernbirt Arboretum. It is a stunningly beautiful place that is all about trees. A place where you can see the giants that give such character to a landscape. These really are amazing plants. To quote Thomas Pakenham from ‘Meetings with remarkable trees’
If a big tree was not a living organism it would still be a remarkable object. A big oak or beech can weigh 30 tons, cover 2,000 square yards, include ten miles of twigs and branches. Each year the tree pumps several tons of water about 100 feet into the air, produces a new crop of 100,000 leaves and covers Half an acre of trunk and branches with a new pelt of bark.
These living organisms are indeed remarkable but far from being just aesthetically beautiful they are atmosphere regulators that suck in CO2 and produce life giving oxygen. To walk amongst them at Westernbirt is a joy and always makes me think of how the landscape there would look without them. A big thank you is due for the people who planted in the past knowing someone else would get the true benefit.