Trees Keeping Up Our Spirits In Lockdown

Inspirational content and beautiful images from Ancient and Sacred Trees members about how trees and the AST community are helping them in a variety of ways during the pandemic.

Discovering New Places

Lockdown has inspired people to explore much closer to home.

As Jo-Anne Hale said "My local bluebell wood. It's only taken me 40 years to finally track it down on one of my daily exercise walks 🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️😬"

Beech woodland with blue bells underneath
My Local Bluebell Wood, Prestbury, Gloucestershire©Jo-Anne Hale

One of our moderators Rob Gaynor said of his local woods, "So many people have discovered local beauty during this lock down. The amount of people I've passed who explain they never knew this was on their doorsteps.. I imagine it's the same all over UK."

Rachel Gregory "yes everywhere is more busy. My walk to the river has always been so peaceful and now I'm seeing between 5 and 6 people each day."

Anya Tranter made a really good point on this subject,

"One good thing from lockdown...there are many, (and obviously many terrible), is how people are discovering the beauty on their doorstep. I live on a council estate in Exeter and I don't have a car, so often I walk in our local city valley park. They are a bit like a green belt of Devon farmland with cows, primroses bluebells rolling amazing hills (that's probably why they weren't built on.) In the summer they plough up fields and sow wild flower meadows for wildlife. They are a piece of my soul. Normally you see very few people, lovely sunny days everyone's into car and off to Dartmoor or the beach. They are spoilt for choice, but now you stroll and see whole happy families going for a walk and many more first it annoyed me I thought oh great you lot that wouldn't normally bother with this little spot are infesting it and I'm having to dodge people. Then I realised it was a really good thing.people were learning you don't have to drive miles to find beauty. It's not something somewhere else. Corny but true it's on your doorstep. If everyone valued and protected the nature in their own area, everywhere would be a beauty spot.

Shelley James meanwhile managed to speak about the benefits of discovery and how trees are helping her.

"I live in London, and since the lockdown started I have been slowly starting to feel quite sad about the fact I am unable to get out into a forest or walk along a path with a tree canopy. Until I discovered this amazing cemetery near where I live. It has so many amazing trees in there, some are absolutely huge. It turns out this cemetery was created in 1840 as an overspill for other London cemeteries so that would explain the age of some of the trees. I have a couple of parks locally to me which are both beautiful, but it isn't the same as walking through something like this. I know that people in this group will understand the excitement I felt at discovering this place. The smell, the sounds of birds (there was a woodpecker somewhere), the shades of green, the sound of the leaves rustling with the wind, the coolness - I could go on. I felt such a deep gratitude walking along the path of graves and trees. I just wanted to share with people who will understand how this made me feel yesterday."

London Ceetry by AST member ©Shelley James

Amazing woodland local to us, have only just discovered it and it is magical! It's nestled on the foothills of the chilterns, next to the Icknield way. The atmosphere is pure magic, although much of the woodland is fairly new (less than 100 years probably) Laure Stapleton

Looking up at a Beech Tree
AST member ©Laure Stapleton

Trees Boosting Our Mental Health

Joan Mould echoed the sentiments of many when she said "Felt a bit down this morning hearing we could be on lock down until next year. So went out among the tall people🌳🌳going a different trail away from the dog walking paths. I saw this tree giving hope. Although it’s roots are out and open to the elements it’s branches are covered in leaves x"

She also went on to say,

"walking amongst the trees close to my flat always picks me up, and video calls with my family 💕"

Anneeke Hine "walking in nature heals a lot of things I find 🥰"

Vicky Keitley "We will get through this"

Kristine Nickel "We are now approaching lock down month 3 in US...average time for most countries to be totally locked waiting for first phase to stores, theatres, and mandatory face masks and fines...and while all that has been happening, nature is being revived and gardens flourishing....keep safe."

Michelle Peal shared this ancient lime tree with us from Wincanton, Somerset.

"My friend felt inspired seeing this tree yesterday, that it is living and thriving despite adversity, covered with buds 💚A positive message in pandemic 🙏🏻"

Maria Goldberg "The description is perfect and it is at times like this when you see this makes you think deeply. Something very special about being amongst nature it really does touch our souls like nothing else."

Emma Duveen "My 'nearly home' oaks are now in fresh leaf. They continue to be beautiful whatever Coronavirus throws at us. Nr Guildford, Surrey."

Rob Gaynor one of our lovely Facebook moderators shared this light hearted piece,

"I've posted a pic of this epic old oak before but thought it would be good to share him again.. Heaven knows we all need a little something to make us smile at this moment.. So here he is. The old man of Ilston woods.. He can be found going about his business at ilston on the Gower peninsular.. His daily routine involves lifting peoples spirits, way marking, listening to birdsong and scratching badger bums.. 😊🌳💚"

The humorous post worked its magic as many joined in with the following sentiment,

Paul Searson "I now have the biggest smile on my face in days... Thanks nice one."

Meanwhile AST artist Phil Darby shared love and blessings ...

"In these times...."

Love and Blessings by AST Photographer Phil Darby

Kayla Groves "I could never get bored of photos catching the magnificence of nature, beautiful thank you these shares brighten my day as a highly vulnerable to Corona in 12 week lock down".

Phil Barnett shared a poem and photo for Earth Day and led many to muse on our relationship with the planet,

"-- On Earth Day -- rise of sun, song of bird, breath of me, breath of you a day on this earth."

Earth Day by AST member ©Phil Barnett

Annette Zietzschmann These crazy times teach us to live the moment....what an adorable picture...mother nature.

Millie Williams Beautiful thank you nature will survive without us but we can't survive without nature x

Finally Nikki Senior made a wonderful tree connection:

Yesterday, whilst out walking I was truly blessed to connect with and participate in a transformational conversation with this old thorn. It was our first encounter, but he beckoned me over and regaled me of his wisdom.

Afterwards, I experienced something wonderful; I saw clearly, I saw symbolic beauty. Can you see it too?

I'll share;

"Fear not the end, for I too have decayed. Where verdant branches once sprung forth from my vibrant torso, now lay scattered upon the dry earth.

Fear not the sharp teeth of life, for I too have felt the thunderous vibrations of the nearby plough, waiting in anticipation of my skin being stripped from my core, becoming nothing more than dust at the hands of man's creation.

Fear not my child of the earth, for each part of the psyche deeply learns great wisdom from this ever changing cycle. For upon each ending forms a new beginning. Look deeply within you and I, deeper, deeper and trust; your heart my love, your heart."

Now can you see it?

N. J. Senior 13.5.20

Blessings to those which are experiencing uncertainty. May this bring comfort and belonging. May this bring clarity and peace.


Ancient hawthorn
Old Thorn by Ast Member ©Niki Senior

Nature really does have the power to improve our sense of well being and has so much we can learn from.

Trees From Windows

Meanwhile other members unable to go outside have been sharing views from windows, balconies, doorways and gateways.

Terri Sands

"No lockdown for nature! View from my bedroom window at my favourite Oak tree and spring lambs. I am truly blessed to be living here.....Update - can't believe my photo has so many likes and comments.Thank you everyone for looking and enjoying 😁"

Steve Lowe Hi ya everyone this is my first post, joined yesterday and I'm in a 12 week lock down, so a picture taken in the garden. Paradise apple and Japanese emperor acer. 🙏😁

He went on to say "I'm so grateful to have a garden, to have time for myself, to connect with nature one day at a time, yes for me these are the positive by- products of this terrible virus. 🙏😔😊"

Tym Groves "I love watching these beauties green up in the springtime, a view from my upstairs rear window."

Tess Smith reflected the unease of some during lockdown. "Sunset from my window. Very strange x"

Some looked at the bigger piicture such as Sharon Chambers "Absolutely over the Moon to see the pairing of the New Moon and Venus right outside my back gate this evening..."

Jenny Bryant

"This is my first post - loving this group! A view from my kitchen window of my ‘borrowed landscape’. The Birds Eye Cherry at the end of the garden (with a leafless beech behind) has her spring blossom ball-gown on & looking splendid, as is the very old Perry Pear tree (I think) in the foreground. But the stars of the show are the mighty Ginko Biloba trees next door just coming into leaf - a rare group of 3 and quite dramatic. I get all the joy and none of the responsibility..."

Folks are picking up their paint brushes to connect with trees at their tables too.