I have a real thing for trees, and in particular oaks.
I live in a market town which thrives on the legend of its old oak,
so it’s perhaps appropriate that the oak inspires me!
Maybe I’ll write a post about Carmarthen’s Old Oak in the future, but today I want to show you my favourite local oak. It’s not a towering, far-reaching, huge, sun-blocking tree; it’s small, but adorable.
The old oak in spring – Green Castle Woods – May 2014 © Lisa Shambrook
I’ve tried to find out information about its history and come up with nothing, but it entrances me all the same, and I cannot walk by without imagining a rich past and a fantastical future! I imagine dragons wheeling above, squirrels collecting acorns, and creatures hibernating within its embrace.
The old oak in winter – Green Castle Woods – Dec 2014 © Lisa Shambrook
When I first saw it, standing alone, I thought it was dead, especially as it was midwinter and bare, but as spring dawned I noticed new growth and my own excitement burgeoned just like its leaf buds! It spread gnarled branches, and foliage erupted and beauty ensued. It quickly became the most beautiful and unusual tree I know.
The old oak seasons – Green Castle Woods © Lisa Shambrook
This oak is not much more than ten feet tall, and hollow. I know nature withstands a great deal, and the fact that it is fully alive amazes me seeing as it’s almost completely hollow. It stands alone in the middle of a reclaimed meadow in Green Castle Woods. It’s a popular dog walking area and we often take our German shepherd around the surrounding woodland and wander through the gorgeous bluebell woods. These woods inspire me and they’ve also become the place where each of my book cover images were taken. You’ll see the bluebells on the cover of ‘Beneath the Rainbow’, another oak on ‘Beneath the Old Oak’ and in the future you’ll see a carved out trunk on ‘Beneath the Distant Star’.
Baby owl – Green Castle Woods © Lisa Shambrook
Woodlands and trees offer me solace, perhaps there is nothing (except the ocean) more soul inspiring to me than the wind whispering through the canopy above, and the crunch of leaves and twigs beneath my feet. The vibrant colours that shine as the sun peers through the trees and the wildflowers peeping through the foliage and the undergrowth delight me. I love the fragrance of spring, fresh and clean, and the musty rich scent of autumn as the season turns. It’s peaceful and beautiful and I’ll always return to the woods.
Take a wander through Green Castle woods (click for map and leaflet), on both sides of the road, and you could find a Butterfly Totem pole, a bench protected by carved owls, an actual owl living in the well-hidden owl boxes, a bench decorated with the sun and the moon, a miniature replica of the main walk, a walk across small bridges and through the woods, my gorgeous almost magical oak, and much more. Like I said, I’ll always return…
Green Castle Woods – Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook
What do you love about the woods, and what is your favourite woodland tree?