This post, although not about a Calder Valley tree, has relevance to our attitudes to ancient trees.

Whilst travelling on holiday, I prefer to meander down the by-ways and try and see what remains of the countryside. On this occasion there was a rare WOW! moment. At a junction of two quiet lanes there it was, a massive ancient Oak tree that is “well over 400 years old”, according to the linked website here

My photos show a recent large stone inscribed ‘Vernons Oak’, which must have cost a fortune to quarry and inscribe with gold lettering. I prefer the Gothic Scripted notice board which you can see on Google Street View here:-,-1.7732217,3a,90y,310.1h,77.81t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s7SJ3qUyLuudohp-wUG6pqw!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1.

It is very rare for any ancient tree to be marked on a map or have any sign on the ground. Most are ‘just there’, unrecognised for what they are. Sometimes better for it as ‘attention’ can often be fatal.

Highways, in their usual casual indifference, have recognised the significance of this rare tree by putting a drunken road sign in front of it.

Someone nearby seems to have a penchant for mowing all the adjacent verge like a lawn. Ancient Trees don’t need mowing. As most tree roots are near the surface a dry hot summer can create desert conditions where there is no long grass to keep the soil cool and moist.

According to the link, it is “One of the Counties most celebrated trees”. Yet, as you can see from my photos, the tree is struggling to survive. It is surely not a co-incidence the decaying rear of the tree is shaded by the overtopping young Beech trees. If nothing is done, Vernons Oak may well be relegated to the archive as “One of the Counties lost celebrated trees”.