Our Hawthorn – a wonderful old tree

Rosie Tween

Because they live longer than we do, trees feed our imagination within a timescale larger than our own lives – so important for us at the moment. The hawthorn in this picture was at the bottom of a garden that had long been neglected when we first moved into this house 25 years ago. It was a scrubby plant and we very nearly took it down. We’re so glad we didn't - we've grown to love the tree over the years. For the birds and insects that it harbours; for its connection to the hedgerows that are so important to our countryside and that have often been grubbed up to enable more intensive forms of farming; for the berries it provides for birds in the winter and the wonderful May blossom in the spring; for its connection to folklore and ancient country rituals like May dances; and for its toughness, its ability to inspire through its sheer resilience. It is a wonderful old tree that has been a vital part of the British and Irish landscape for thousands of years. We are blessed to have inherited the tree, which, in truth, needs so little nurturing from humans – and gives back so much more than we put into its care.

By Rosie Tween, Volunteer Wheelchair Skills Trainer for Backup Trust and David Whitley, Emeritus Fellow of Homerton College

This story is part of a new gallery of images and voices gathered to celebrate Tree Charter Day 2020. You can support the Tree Charter and celebrate Cambridge’s Urban forest by:

Exploring the gallery of trees and voices gathered for this celebration
Signing the Tree Charter
Downloading the Cambridge Canopy Project creative activity pack
Sharing your story with others - #camtrees
Following @CamCanopyProj on Twitter to keep updated on all things ‘Urban Forest’