‘Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven’*

We’re in England.  We’ve been here nearly three weeks, and so busy catching up with Those Twins in Bolton and friends in Yorkshire that blogging has quite simply not been on my agenda.  But here we are in South Gloucestershire with daughter-in-law’s parents: there should be a name for this particularly satisfying relationship as it’s one we enjoy and appreciate.

On Friday they took us to Westonbirt Arboretum.  If you’re spending a few days round Bristol and Bath there’s no better place to recharge your batteries.  You could pass the morning in the Old Arboretum, a carefully designed landscape dating from the 1850’s.  There are something like two and a half thousand varieties of tree – 16,000 specimens in all,  from all over the world, planted according to ‘picturesque’ principles of the 18th and 19th centuries, offering beautiful vistas, enchanted glades and stately avenues.  After a light lunch in the on-site restaurant you could go on to explore the Silk Woods an ancient, semi-natural woodland, or the grassy meadows of the Downs

It was Robert Holford who designed and encouraged the planting of the Arboretum, back in the mid 19th century.  This was a period when plant-hunters were bringing new and exotic species back from their world-wide travels. Holford was able to finance some of these expeditions, and the Arboretum contains many of the specimens his scientific adventurers brought back.

Truly, it’s a magical place.   We arrived, let out a collective sigh, and simply allowed  stress and worry to fall away.  Strolling about, we gazed upwards at trees whose end-of-summer leaves seemed to be fingering the clouds, into copses where we could glimpse others already turning to the ochres and russets of Autumn, and then closely at the trees themselves.  It was the bark that caught our attention close up.  Smooth and silvery, brown and knobbly, grey and wrinkled, the variety astonished us.  Take a look at these.  And if you get a chance to visit this Arboretum, at any time of year, then take it.

*Rabindrath Tagore

14 thoughts on “‘Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven’*”

  1. superb – incredibly beautiful – you probabely had excellent smelling oxygen as well? /just fell inlove with the different kind of barks, nature is THE great artist – enjoy further discoveries………….visiting your area very soon….AnnAxxx

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  2. trees are amazing – I read your comment, then your post, hence my confusing reply – you are indeed much further north than I am at the moment and have the luxury of a couple of minutes more daylight. Your post spurred me into action and my daughter and Ii’ll be heading to our arboretum in Lisle, IL – The Morton Arboretum. Tours looks inviting. Thank you for the inspiration. Enjoy your time back home.

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  3. I’ve never been to Westonbirt but we used to live near Wakehurst Place (also home to the Millenium Seed Bank) and just loved to walk through the wooded valleys. I love the bark photographs – they’re one of my favourite subjects.

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  4. I never had time when I was younger to notice trees..they were just there!!..but now I am older[and wiser!] these are the things that I freely enjoy when walking on the country paths with my daughters Weimerana.[Jeans favorite dog]
    Without trees where would we be…there’s a thought?

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