Honouring The Trees Along The Spine of Albion

Tree Pilgrimage from the South Coast to the North Wessex Downs in Wiltshire, Raising Tree Planting Funds for Ancient and Sacred Trees.

Celebrating AST member Gillian Butlers' tree pilgrimage raising funds for UK tree planting with Ancient and Sacred Trees.


Walk a Sacred Tree Trail Along The Spine of Albion.

Gillian Butler, an Ancient and Sacred Trees member, has started out on a pilgrimage to honour our Ancient and Sacred Trees of Britain while raising funds for tree planting. Gillian who is a Mentor/Coach, Weleda Wellbeing Advisor, Massage Therapist and Animistic Practitioner has planned her trip inspired by the book The Spine of Albion written by Gary Biltcliff and Caroline Hoare.


Ancient yew tree with bench around it
Ancient Yew at St. Mary’s, Twyford by Gillian Butler

Over the coming months she will be walking and honouring the trees that grow along and around the ‘Spine of Albion’; an Alignment, or Ley, that runs through the UK from the South Coast of England up to and beyond the Highlands of Scotland. The route is inspired by Gary Biltcliffe & Caroline Hoare’s book “The Spine of Albion”


If you purchase the book direct from here please email the authors Gary & Caroline to say you heard about it through AST and they will donate £2 for each book sold to AST UK tree planting funds!


“I am passionate about raising awareness of the utmost importance of trees to our very existence here on earth.” Gillian then went on to list some vital tree facts."


Life Saving Tree Facts


Fact: Life could not exist without trees


Fact: Trees produce most of the oxygen that humans and wildlife breathe – they are, quite literally, the lungs of our planet


Fact: Our global forests act as the world’s giant air filters


Fact: Trees help reduce the effects of climate change



Tree Pilgrimage from the South Coast to the North Wessex Downs in Wiltshire and Raising Tree Planting Funds for Ancient and Sacred Trees


The South Coast

Gillians' pilgrimage started in Hill Head Beach on the shores of the Solent, where at its western end is a small harbour located at the mouth of the River Meon close to where Elen, the female energy current and the male energy current, Belinus, (which intertwine up the centre of the British Isles) enter the mainland from the Isle of Wight.


St Mary's Twyford Trees.

Elen visits St. Mary’s, Twyford passing through the yew tree below. Gillian says;


“ I sat for quite a while underneath, losing myself in the energies contained within every part of this tree. An honouring indeed!


Ancient yew tree
The Ancient Yew at St Mary's Twyford by Gillian Butler

Honouring The Trees

Gillian honours the trees in the following ways,


"I gently, quietly call to them using the names given to them by our ancestors; using the words from an ancient mother tongue that was spoken by our Bronze Age ancestors; Proto-Celtic or Common Celtic words which are 4,000 years old.


So, for example, there is more than one word for Oak, but I resonate with the word ‘Daru’, so as I am walking towards an Oak I will gently call out to connect with the Oak “Galwo Daru”, three, maybe more times.

“I walk for the trees,

I talk to the trees;

I dance for the trees,

I sing to the trees;

I honour the trees, I

listen to the trees;

and the trees listen to us.”

Then I will stand or sit with them, feeling their powerful, but gentle energies flowing deep into their roots and high into their branches – connecting with us, connecting with life.”


Oak tree
Daru ©G Butler

Winchester Trees

Legend has it that a giant on St. Catherine’s Hill hurled a large megalith from here that fell on the Downs above Mottistone to become the Longstone.


2 trees on ST Catherine's Hill
A Tree 'Portal' on ST Catherine's Hill. G Butler

You can follow Elen’s path as she meanders through the water meadows in the Itchen Valley to the Hospital of St. Cross which is home to England’s oldest Almshouses. Here Gillian had a picnic sitting under a sweeping Willow Tree close to the river.


Hospital of St. Cross which is home to England’s oldest Almshouses
Hospital of St. Cross which is home to England’s oldest Almshouses. G Butler

Following the beautifully clear waters of the River Itchen head for Winchester Cathedral, first passing the grounds of the College and an avenue of Lime Trees.


Here the journey concludes under the branches of an ancient Yew, part of a small grove of them in the grounds of Winchester Cathedral.


lime tree avenue
Avenue of Limes ©G Butler


Honouring The Trees

“We walk for the trees, we talk to the trees,


We dance for the trees, we sing to the trees,


We honour the trees and we listen to the trees


And the trees listen to us”

Gillian Butler 2021


Watership Down, The Wayfarer’s Walk and Ladle Hill Trees

Elen journeys through Watership Down and the Wayfarer’s Walk connecting with Ladle Hill, a 7 acre hill fort through with lots of trees to honour along the way. Gillian described her connection with trees and nature here;


"With the combination of the rain on their leaves and the winds through their branches, the trees most definitely were singing to us and it was a real privilege to spend time listening to their songs."



St. Mary’s, Micheldever Trees


St. Mary’s church, Micheldever
St. Mary’s, Micheldever ©G Butler

Gillian says; "Possibly one of the most glorious locations for a church, hidden by a variety of magnificent trees and sitting in a hollow by the River Itchen, was the setting for our first visit of the day. Entering the grounds of the church, over a little footbridge spanning the river and through a delightful Lych Gate."


River Itchen
River Itchen ©G Butler

Walbury Hill link to Wayfarers Way Trees

"Amongst the many trees on our walk, we met a number of Hawthorns, resplendent in their crowns of May flowers, and even the sheep were impressed enough to leave woolly offerings."


hawthorn tree
Hawthorn with woolly offerings © G Butler

View from Walbury Hill
View from Walbury Hill.G Butler

Chilton Foliat on the River Kennet ,Wiltshire Trees

The avenue of Lime Trees leading to the entrance of St. Mary’s, is a memorial to the inhabitants of the Parish who lost their lives in the First World War and other trees in the Churchyard commemorate those who lost their lives in the Second World War.


avenue of lime trees
World War One Memorial of limes © © Butler

As Gillian rightly says; "What a beautiful tribute and honouring of those dear souls."


In Chilton Foliat is a magnificent London Plane Tree, said to be over 400 years old.


ancient plane tree
Ancient Plane Tree at Chilton Foliat © G Butler

Also here is the beautiful river Kennet and one of England's most important chalk streams runs through.


Many of the wild animals and plants of the Kennet and its banks are increasingly scarce; fortunately, because it has an extensive range of rare plants and animals that are unique to chalk watercourses, this part the river is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The protection that this status affords means that many endangered species of plants and animals can be found here. Animal species such as the Water Vole, Grass Snake, Reed Bunting, Brown Trout, and Brook Lamprey flourish here, despite being in decline in other parts of the country.


ancient plane tree
The Chilton Foliat Plane Tree © G Butler

Next Time:

Tree pilgrimage traveling through the Cotswolds.


To purchase the book that inspires this pilgrimage buy it direct from authors Gary & Caroline here & please email them to say you heard about it through AST and they will donate £2 for each book sold to AST UK tree planting funds!


Donate for AST tree planting in the UK here


Visit Gillian's blog here for more information on her journey and the earth energy lines https://gillianandthetrees.wordpress.com/blog/


All photos ©Gillian Butler