As National Tree Week approaches (28th November to 6th December), Otley Walkers are Welcome are mourning the loss of a vintage oak tree (Quercus robur) that has stood at the side of an ancient hollow way from Clifton for as long as anyone knows.
The lane was used in the middle ages to lead animals into a wood for grazing and to market at Otley. There used to be an ancient forest that separated the village of Clifton from Otley. This oak and its nearby partner are beside an old wall bordering a field reclaimed from the wood and was probably an acorn seedling long ago.
The tree has always seemed stunted compared to its partner and has been deteriorating over the years. The partner oak is still looking good but appears to bare the scars of a past lightening strike. Unfortunately, the Otley group doubt whether the tree will be replaced.
The path to Clifton is one of the most used by walkers to go up into North Yorkshire, and by dog walkers and people out for Sunday afternoon stroll, so these trees were basically a familiar landmark to all of us. “An old acquaintance gone”, remarked Otley Chairman, Jur Keesen. A piece of history disappeared.