The White Leaved Oak




After walking for hours over the Malvern Hills and sliding down countless muddy trails, I had finally found the White Leaved Oak.
Last autumn, I was following a documentary series about ancient trees in Europe and there was something about the old oak that grabbed my attention and followed with me all throughout the dark winter months in Sweden. When I decided to travel to the UK this year, I knew that I had to go visit the White Leaved Oak in Malvern.
Even from far away, you can glimpse the colourful ribbons swaying from the oaks branches. Kneeling before the old tree, I marvelled at its size and character; every twist and turn, every knot and knobble, and every gift to be found among the trees many secret hollows.
The White Leaved Oak is a most cherished tree, dressed in a cloak of abundance like a magical Oak King. All sorts of treasures can be found hanging from his branches, hidden under secret roots and nestled in the clutches of his gnarled trunk. Letters, crystals, coins, photos and jewellery. He even has its own visitor’s books kept safe and dry in a plastic box, and full to the brim with poems, greetings and blessings.
Leaning against the old trunk with the visitor’s book in my lap, I smiled at the happy realization that despite all the madness of the world, people still have a love for old trees such as the White Leaved Oak.
Walking home was yet another long walk. Over three hours of walking along a countryside road among speeding cars, daffodils and cows. I arrived in the village of Guarlford where I am staying in the early evening, completely exhausted, but full of joy.
Finding the White Leaved Oak was an adventure, and there is something about going on adventures, no matter how big or small, that brings my inner wild child spirit to life. The oak tree had been on my mind for so long, actually being there felt like meeting a character from a favourite fairy-tale!
How many adventures are waiting for us, just around the corner?
I can tell you this – I will never be too old for magic-tree-finding-adventures!
A few days ago, I returned to White Leaved Oak for another visit and spent half the day there. Trees are like people, it takes time to get to know them. When you spend time with a tree and really open your senses, then the tree may speak to you in one way or another. White Leaved Oak gave me a song that I will always carry with me to sing and remember.
Thank you White Leaved Oak. It has been an honour to meet you and sing your songs. And thank you for leading me to Malvern! Here I have found some wonderful new friends and storytelling connections. Would have loved to stay longer but now the road beckons...







Comments

  1. I’m a lecturer in Arboriculture (tree care) and as such have had a keen interest in this tree. I’ve been meaning to visit the Whiteleaved Oak for some considerable time and last week (21st. February 2019) I managed to take time and visit this wonderful tree. It was everything I expected apart from one thing, I’m afraid this once magnificent tree is either dead or very close to death. Looking at the branch structure there is very little evidence of new or recent growth, such a shame considering the love this tree has had bestowed upon it.
    I took time to look around and ponder what could be responsible for the demise of such a great tree and came to the following conclusion, livestock. There is evidence that the area around the Oak is heavily grazed, in particular by sheep. Pharmaceutical products that are given to animals are not tested against the environment and I feel these products that are deposited on the ground have had a detrimental effect on a tree that was already stressed, due to old age.
    I feel a lesson should be learned from this sad tale, notable trees should be fenced off from livestock and given the respect they so much deserve.

    Whilst I was visiting I took some video footage in the hope of capturing some of this trees mystic.
    https://youtu.be/4kRD28RcHKo

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    1. Thank you for sharing your beautiful video! Yes, I remember that there were sheep grazing close by. Perhaps the tree is dead in one way, but the spirit of White Leaved Oak is still very much alive! At least this was my experience when I was there. The spirit of this tree is very strong! And the magic of White Leaved Oak will certainly live on for a long, long time...

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  2. Dear Stina, I feel exactly like you about going on adventures (no matter how big our small). I am originally from Germany but I have moved to Cornwall/UK some years ago. I have by now made so many tree friends here and there are a lot of places to discover that hold a magic that is beautiful and ancient. I have only just found your website through 'treesisters' and I love the idea that there are other tree-loving women out there who travel across the world in order to visit old oak friends.
    Love to you, Faye

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    1. Hello Faye, thank you for your comment! Yes, I also love the idea of other tree-loving women out their in the world! Many blessings to you on your magic-tree-finding-adventures.

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