The Linden Walk ~ A Leafy Arcade

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This is my absolutely favourite Much Wenlock place (apart from home and the allotment), and it’s just across the road from the house. The Linden Walk borders the Gaskell (Linden) Field, and until the 1960s, steam trains would have been chuffing past just a few metres to the right of the tree cutting sign. In Victorian times there used to be an Olympic Special that every year brought in hundreds of spectators to watch the July Olympian Games masterminded by the town’s doctor, William Penny Brookes. The handsome station was only a hundred yards behind the point where I’m standing to take this photo.

Dr Brookes was also responsible for bringing the railway to Wenlock and for nagging his friends into helping him plant this double row of lime trees (Tilia x europaea). This was done in the 1860s, and I wonder if he foresaw then how lovely it would be. I’m guessing he would. He was a man of  vision and a great believer in devising means to cultivate both the physical and mental well being of the townsfolk.

Apart from being a physician, he was also a keen botanist and, before taking over the town’s medical practice from his father, he had studied herbalism at the University of Padua. Doubtless he would have known that preparations of lime flowers have strong sedative and pain relieving properties, a remedy to be treated with some caution.

I’m also sure he had in mind the blissful effect of simply wandering beneath an avenue of limes on a hot June day, absorbing the soothing green shade and breathing in the delicious fragrance of the trees’ inconspicuous cascades of blossom. Now the trees are at peak leafiness they create a continuous arcaded canopy. The small hermaphroditic flowers also produce nectar which means there are bees. Blackbirds and squirrels forage round the roots. There is birdcall in the treetops, and even though the tree cutting sign suggests the barking of chainsaws, there was only quietness when I took the photo.  The trimmers of the lime trees’ epicormic growth must have gone to lunch. You can see the effect they have had if you compare the trees with those in the second photo taken the day before. While the overgrowth is boskily attractive it can get out of hand; limes are prone to fungal diseases, and so are probably best protected by improving ventilation.

In fact the continued good health of the Linden Walk it taken very seriously. Cricket club supporters and bowling club members are no longer allowed to drive their cars along the avenue as they were wont to do, an activity that threatened to compact the tree roots. In fact we’ve been told by a Professor of Lime Trees that the trees could live another 150 years if we look after them. What a treasure Dr Brookes left behind – for us and a few more generations yet.

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Roof Squares 16

47 thoughts on “The Linden Walk ~ A Leafy Arcade

  1. Smashing, and what a marvelous shot of the squirrel. Well done, you.
    A walk I intend to take one day – after a cup of tea at your spot, of course.
    🙂

  2. What a blessing to have such a man of vision! We need more with this sort of vision. I would walk there regularly just as I do at the park here. There are places in France where the trees line both sides of the road this way and they’re so beautiful. Thanks for a lovely sight before I head in to work, into the bowels of consumerism. 🙂

    janet

      1. Besides being Sunday tomorrow, it will be my last day of work for about 3 weeks. I’m heading to Wyoming soon and that will nourish my soul mightily. Only thing better would be if my husband could come, too.

  3. Looks like a very special walk. Lime trees are one of my favourites. Have yours been covered with flowers this year? (the lighter leaf things with little round berry things hanging underneath). Ours is covered. I can’t remember it doing it quite so spectacularly before.

    1. Yes lots of those strange little flowers this year. They’re often not at all noticeable, apart from the scent, and before you know it. they’re all blowing to pieces.

    1. Perhaps he’s the professor’s alter ego. He was quite elderly, I think, when he paid the trees a visit a few years ago. I was very surprised that there was such a being – someone who had made a life’s work of studying lime trees. Rather heartening 🙂

  4. A great pleasure seeing such a walk in the proximity of your home. Dr Brookes sounds like a great treasure to the community. We have had a number of such enthusiasts here, and I am always grateful for their foresight when visiting the landscape they improved.

    1. Good morning, Shimon. I’m glad to show you my local sights – squirrels instead of hyraxes 🙂 There’s somehow added value to the pleasure too, when you know some past thoughtful person acted purely for the good of the thing, and not simply to be noticed.

  5. So beautiful, and so green. As for forethought, hallelujah! In the 1920s a Boken Hill man, Albert Morris, an employee of the mine, envisaged a regeneration area round the town, a belt of the landscape as it ought to be. What a gift! I first heard about him when I was paying my electricity bill in Moruya 1200 km away.

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