Last summer, I went walking at Aira Force and came across some unusual patterns on some of its trees. I do love trees. They bring the beautiful countryside into cities, towns and villages. They exchange live-giving oxygen for deadly carbon dioxide. They provide shade in the heat and shelter for mankind and creatures big and small that live in or depend upon them. Many act as hosts to parasitic plants, which otherwise would not flourish. Trees attract life-giving rainfall and many of them have medicinal properties which aid and protect human life. Finally, they are beautiful in their own right. What a wonderful gift of creation they are!

aira force tree

Whilst walking at Aira Force, I came across a mature tree with incredible ‘folded’ rings around its trunk that drew some curious attention from me.

The English Lake District is of course full of trees. Lakes are surrounded by trees of all shapes and sizes, and swathes of woodland dot its fields and lower fell sides. Trees are an integral part of the Lake District landscape and enhance its beauty. Even individual trees can be important to this essentially rural community’s sense of history and identity.

The strength of feeling many in humankind have towards trees can range from the sentimental to the brusque. In November last year, an outcry by Cumbrians and visitors denounced the cutting down of a 110-year old monkey puzzle tree at Brockhole Visitor Centre because it was blocking the view of Lake Windermere from the terrace.

brockhole monkey puzzle tree

The monkey puzzle tree at Brockhole, denuded in preparation for the chop! (

AN ICONIC Lake District monkey puzzle tree is being felled this afternoon – despite a high profile campaign to save it. . . .

The monkey puzzle, planted at Brockhole by Beatrix Potter‘s cousins the Gaddum family, is being axed by the Lake District National Park Authority as part of a controversial redevelopment of the Edwardian garden.


I have to admit I felt sorry that a healthy tree should be cut down for the sake of a better view. Brockhole is only two miles from Blenheim Lodge, our Bed and Breakfast in Bowness-on-Windermere. However, closer to home, I also found myself mourning the death of a fine conifer situated two doors away from our guest house. The conifer, like that monkey puzzle tree, compromised a smidgeon of our view. Even so, I would rather have continued to see it alive and thriving than being chopped up for firewood!

Blenheim Lodge nestles into National Trust fields and woodlands, and I am glad that the trees, plants and creatures living in these acres are protected. So many people take such joy in walking through woods and glades, and perhaps glimpsing the wild creatures that reside therein, that it would be a shame to despoil such habitat – not, of course, so much for the humans; but particularly so for the creatures that live and thrive in this lovely countryside.

Trees and fields behind Blenheim Lodge

I do so enjoy the countryside directly behind our guest house. This photo of the view above was taken from The Dalesway, my favourite room, at our Blenheim Lodge Guest House. You can see our hedge in the foreground, beyond which are the woods and fields pictured here that belong to the National Trust.

Reports on acres of woodland being razed or chopped down because of Man’s consumerism make me cringe at just how unworthy we are as caretakers of God’s natural world. Because of our greed, we have managed to decimate animal numbers either by violently killing them off or by despoiling their habitats. Creatures of the earth have become sport to us, and this is so even in remote regions of the world. Recently, I was saddened to see on a BBC documentary entitled ‘The Polar Bear Family and Me’ video images of starving polar bears consuming discarded foam and plastic floats which fishermen had carelessly left adrift in the Artic Sea, only to beach on the glacial shores that these animals were on. (

Blenheim Lodge is a member of Responsible Travel, which seeks to minimise the impact of our presence on the environment. I feel strongly about the natural world not because I have an affinity with all wild animals and environments. Rather, I think that since we all share one world, we should look after it the best we can, and respect the environment and its inhabitants, whether they live in, out, or on the water, earth and sky.

monkey puzzle tree, brockhole, lake district

Where once there was life, enjoyment, and laughter, now it is no more. A family picnics under the iconic monkey puzzle tree at Brockhole Visitor Centre, 2 miles from Blenheim Lodge. Sadly, the Lake District National Park ruled that the tree should be removed. (Photo courtesy of

Blenheim Lodge . . . panoramic Lake views, peace and tranquillity, nestled against acres of beautiful fields and woodlands, in the heart of the English Lake District National Park.’

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