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Staffordshire Ancient and Sacred Trees Pilgrimage Along the Spine of Albion.

A Fundraising Pilgrimage For Ancient and Sacred Trees

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

St. Mary’s Church, Handsworth, Birmingham.

This church is in the Birmingham suburb of Handsworth where the Elen earth energy current flows up the chancel.

Trees at St. Mary’s Church, Handsworth, Birmingham.
Trees at St. Mary’s Church, Handsworth, Birmingham. ©G Butler

Walk a Sacred Tree Trail Along The Spine of Albion.
Gillian Butler, an Ancient and Sacred Trees member, is 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.

She is 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.

If you purchase the book direct from here please email the authors Gary & Caroline on the site  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.”


In Lichfield cathedral Nave Altar where Gary Biltcliffe and Caroline Hoare dowsed Elen’s current here. There is an oak tree carving at the Altar.

Lichfield cathedral
Lichfield Cathedral ©G Butler
Lichfield lake and trees
Lichfield ©G Butler

St. Michael and All Angels Church, Colwich.

The Elen energy current again flows through the church

St. Michael and All Angels Church, Colwich.
Trees at St. Michael and All Angels Church, Colwich ©G Butler.

Shugborough Estate, National Trust

Run by the National Trust this great estate has the Elen line running through strange monument upon with a stone carving of a cat keeping watch.

Shugborough monument
Shugborough Monument ©G Butler

From there the current runs across to another monument based on Nicholas Poussin’s painting ‘Arcadian Shepherds’, in the direction of the cats' gaze. The Shepherd’s Monument, has an inscription below the carving and reads O U O S V A V V D.M. Scientists and linguists have yet to decipher its' meaning.

An extraordinary Yew Tree that used to have a tunnel running through it lies to the East of the Shepherds monument. It is in the Tree Register of the British Isles as the tree with the largest spreading crown of any tree in Britain and Ireland. It has a canopy the same size as the auditorium of the Royal Albert Hall. In 2020 fifteen volunteers worked for two days to trim it back to maintain its health.

giant canopied yew
Yew with biggest tree canopy in Britain ©G Butler
Under the yew tree
Inside The Shugborough Yew ©GButler

The Elen earth energy current flows under another monument called ‘the Ruin’ on which is the seated figure of a Druid. From here Elen flows across the river to an island where there are several oak leaf shaped sculptures made from willow.

willow sculpture in the shape of an oak leaf
Oak leaf sculpture at Shugborough ©GButler

The Shugborough estate is full of many fine trees to see throughout.

St Mary's, Checkley

St. Mary’s is one of the finest medieval churches in North Staffordshire. Elen flows under one of the most ancient fonts in Staffordshire, dating from the Saxon period. There are three ancient carved Saxon crosses to the south of the church. The church is clearly on a mound and is also surrounded by a ring of yew trees some of which are clearly very old and it is a site well worth visiting.

The Cloud and the Bridestones at Bosley near Congleton

The Cloud is an ancient holy hill upon the side of which is the Bridestones Neolithic monument. There is a tradition on Good Friday to make a pilgrimage to the top of the hill and throw eggs from the summit. Local people in their many hundreds would go up up with hot cross buns to take in the view and uphold this ancient tradition and a few locals still do. The Cloud is also the site of a double sunset that can be seen from Leek. The hill acts as a focal point for a number of ancient sites which circle it. It is at the summit where the Belinus and Elen earth energy lines cross where once a seventy five foot tall pinnacle of rock stood called Bully Thrumble.

The Bridestones is unique in Britain and the largest chambered tomb of its' kind when built. You can find out more about it here in an article taken from an assignment I wrote for my MA on my Jack In The Green blog.


Amanda Claire

Next Time:

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

Plant a Tree with AST in the UK here with certificates and more

Visit Gillian's blog here for more information on her journey and the earth energy lines

All photos ©Gillian Butler unless otherwise stated

Select Bibliography links


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