Now that The Long View exhibition and book have been launched you might think we’ve come to a sort of an ending with the project – but far from it! We feel as if, after two years, we’ve only just begun, and we’re looking forward to many years with these remarkably ordinary seven trees. And there’s more – we’re really excited to announce the next stage …
Next week, with the help of the extremely talented master waller, Andrew Mason (whose portfolio includes ten years working with Andy Goldsworthy), we are going to be placing a treefold in Grizedale Forest. This will be part of the forest’s sculpture collection, it will be a legacy of The Long View and will become part of the legacy of the Charter for Trees, Woods and People.
If you’d like to come along and find out what we’re up to, and meet Andrew, we’re having a drop-in event, on site, on July 20th, 12-2pm. Turn up to the reception in Grizedale Forest and they will let you know where to find us – it is approximately 20-25 minutes walk up from the Visitor Centre and the route will be waymarked. (And if you come early you can take a while to look around the exhibition in the gallery, which is open from 10am).
So what is a treefold?
The concept of a treefold continues the process that has been at the heart of The Long View: inviting people to pause with a tree. It recognizes and celebrates the value of being with trees, and the place of trees within a biodiverse landscape that is also rich in human cultures of stone wall building, stockmanship and woodland management.
At first, each of the trees will be small – but over the years they will grow and the landscape around the treefold will change as well. We can imagine ourselves and others returning year after year to watch these changes, and take time to contemplate what’s happening in the wider environment, locally and globally.
We will be creating three treefolds: one close to the easternmost of these trees, one in Grizedale Forest, which is home to an internationally renowned and continually evolving, sculpture collection, and one close to the shore of Ullswater, in Glencoyne Park.
Each treefold will be made using traditional Cumbrian dry-stone walling techniques with stones that are either already on site (from a redundant wall or sheepfold), or locally sourced. Harriet has written a poem which is being carved into stones by Pip Hall – each treefold will contain a section that stands alone while the whole poem spans the land between. This is another invitation to pause, and over the years these stones will weather – wind, rain and time blurring the distinction between words, lichen, and worn stone.
Within each treefold we will be planting 1-3 trees (we know trees like to be in company), and the enclosure will offer protection from the grazing of deer and sheep. There will be access to the tree via a step and through-stones within the structure will offer a place to sit.
Drawing on tradition, celebrating trees, looking to the future
The creation of a stone piece follows in the tradition of land art in the last 50 years and also acknowledges the long tradition of dry stone wall building in Cumbria. Typically, folds are built for sheep rather than for trees, but there was a time when woodlands used for coppicing would have been walled in. We’re drawing on both traditions, and offering these new spaces as view points and locations to consider points of view and what lies ahead.
In the building of the treefolds we will facilitate ‘conversations across walls’. We will be inviting people from land management and environmental policy organisations, farmers on whose land the treefolds stand, local residents who have been part of the project and shared their stories with us, and others, to come along.
The New Charter for Trees, Woods and People
The consideration of the future and the creation of a space for people to sit with a particular tree marks and celebrates the creation of a new Charter for Trees, Woods and People. The Cumbria treefolds are one of eight Charter Art residencies being curated by Common Ground in connection with the new Tree Charter that is being launched this year, 800 years after the signing of the Forest Charter in 2017. We’re really honoured to be part of a nationwide project that involves brilliant artists and is full of creativity, participation, conversations and debates, and will provide legacies in many different parts of the country.
Location: Grizedale Forest. The treefold will be set high above the valley, with views extending for miles and miles. The site has recently been felled and is due to be replanted soon: the new aspen tree here will be growing up alongside its fellows in a mixed woodland. We’re so excited about the prospect of all these trees growing up together, and the gradual change over the next 20-30 years. The tradition of placing sculpture within Grizedale Forest began with artists including David Nash, Richard Harris and Andy Goldsworthy, working with natural materials. It’s an incredibly inspiring place. We’re really happy to be showing The Long View exhibition at Grizedale and extremely grateful to the Forestry Commission Team at Grizedale Forest and the Forest ArtWorks programme for assisting us in the planning and delivery of this treefold, and we feel incredibly privileged to be part of this internationally recognised sculpture collection.
Drop-in Day: July 20, 2017. 12 noon – 2pm
Not far below the Little Asby Hawthorn there’s a tree stump that is all that remains of the ‘Dowly Tree’ – a tree that stood for many years as a landmark on Little Asby Common, and has, over the years, gathered a number of stories (‘dowly’ means ‘lonely or ‘melancholy’ and the tree has been linked with hanging and duelling, for instance, although no-one really knows if these stories are true).
For a few years the Little Asby commoners have been discussing the planting of a new tree so we’re delighted that the treefold here will encircle and protect a new tree that will become a new landmark. The sessile oak will stand just several metres from the Dowly stump, on land that’s owned by Friends of the Lake District, managed by the commoners whose animals graze the fells here, and is overseen by Natural England who monitor the surrounding land.
Drop-in Day: August 7, 2017. 12 noon – 2pm.
The site is within a few metres of the road between Sunbiggin Tarn and the hamlet of Little Asby at the junction with the road to Mazon Wath. Grid Reference 685093.
The third treefold will be built close to the Ullswater Way footpath, nestled in woodland pasture in Glencoyne Park and overlooking the lake. The land here is owned by the National Trust and farmed by the Hodgsons at Glencoyne Farm. We’re still finalising dates for this but will post a day for the public drop-in as soon as we know, if you’d like to join us.
2 thoughts on “A legacy – trees for the future”