Take a walk along the Sailor's Path in Snape, Suffolk and you will see a row of poplars on the horizon line, swaying in time to a foreground of reeds. Only one tree is missing from its centre. I'm proud to say that it was my grandfather who planted them back in the early sixties. He was a quiet man, not prone to grand gestures, but his line of poplars, seen from Snape Maltings world-famous concert hall, have become an indelible part of the landscape.
His enduring passion was to make things - much out of wood. From his hands digging a sapling into the earth, to those same hands crafting the perfect little chest of drawers appear to me a metaphor for how growth, change and time transforms most things.
Those chest of drawers are my most precious possession. And the trees which my grandfather planted make me appreciate that, generations ahead, Wilderley will also have a new habitat and shape of its own. Birds will poke their beaks through fragile shells into a world we will no longer be part of. On the ground, animals will feed on folliage and seeds, or make their home within a trunk of an oak. Some trees may fall naturally and be honed into a bench or a boat. Who knows!
Looking at the landscape of the farm now, one can only imagine how our baby trees will shape and inspire future generations. I hope that our Poplars will grow, just as my grandfather's have, drawing people's eyes to the skyline above. The Hornbeams will spread outwards creating a rich and broad canopy of leaves, offering shade for strangers we will never meet. The Goat Willow will support a buzzing habitat around our ponds. Oaks will find their own shape in the world ensuring there are branches to climb and maybe inspire the artist or photographer with their enigmatic fractal pattern of branches.
This week will mark the anniversary of the planting of over 250 trees on our 38-acre slice of heaven here at Wilderley. They aren't big. Many no more than fragile little wands, called whips, dipping their roots into 'earth life' to begin their growth journey into saplings and beyond. Many of our trees have been planted in memory of a person or an animal. Others to celebrate the take off of our carbon neutral aircraft but all for our rewilding project.
Whether we are planting one hundred or one thousand trees, it doesn't really matter. Planting a few which outlive us, does.
Our Wilderley rewilding project has been flourishing. Thanks to OVO Energy and TCV's 'I Dig Trees' initiative, we are now able to plant in the region of 500 beautiful trees. For anyone who would like to take part and plant some trees arriving in March, please email: email@example.com.
For more information on community tree planting, please visit: https://www.tcv.org.uk/communities/i-dig-trees