I consider myself well blessed to have this avenue of venerable lime trees within a stone’s throw of my house. The Linden Walk is one of Much Wenlock’s treasures. The limes on the right were planted in October 1869 by the town’s physician and philanthropist, Dr. William Penny Brookes. He apparently had help from his friends to do the job. Forty two trees were planted and forty two trees still thrive. Thank you Dr. Brookes.
The limes on the left are possibly older, and our local tree expert surmises that they may have been planted by the railway company in 1860-ish to demarcate the railway line when it first arrived in Wenlock. Dr. Brooks was a prime mover in bringing the railway to town. It’s only a pity he can’t bring it back to us.
The avenue forms the southerly boundary of the Gaskell aka Linden Field, where from the 1850s Dr. Brooks held the Annual Wenlock Olympian Games, an event of his devising for improving the health and wellbeing of the general populace of Wenlock and beyond. He even designed the ornate medals and paid for them himself. And it was these games that went on to inspire and inform the modern Olympic Movement. A crown of laurels to you, Dr. Brookes.
The good news is that, according to an international lime tree specialist, who was brought in to inspect them, this avenue has another good century and a half of life left in it – as long as we continue to care for it. I’m sure we will.
In this winter view, taken in Lumix monochrome mode, the walk looks very mysterious. In summer, though, it is so flush with leaf vigour and the soothing notes of linden blossom that you can walk beneath the trees and get high as kite: so much juice and joy – to misquote Gerald Manley Hopkins.
Over at Paula’s Black & White Sunday the theme is ‘convergence’. Please go and see her work, and others’ converging interpretations.