We were recently privileged to visit some friends in Devon. While we were there, we were privileged to meet some wonderful tree people, including Pip Howard and Rob the Treehunter. http://europeantrees.wordpress.com. They are part of a wonderful European-wide project looking at trees, landscape and people called HERCULES.
We were already keen on trees – we really have to be since we own a woodland containing quite a lot of them – but this was a real eye-opener to the presence of and meaning of special trees in the landscape.
South Devon has some very special trees and landscapes. First of all there are the amazing sunken old roads, now become paths or bridleways between steep hedge banks, with overgrown trees. Then, in the fields and in scattered places around the landscape, we find the most amazing old pollards, hundreds of years old, growing slowly and magnificently, hollow and full of wildlife habitat. Finally there are the trees that mark certain routes, or certain waypoints. I was not aware, although I am now, how Scots Pine was used to mark roads and waypoints, making them easy to identify in the landscape, and thus helping drovers and others to navigate.
The challenge is to photograph these magnificent trees and show something of their character. I felt that monochrome images helped to keep the eye on the tree and its form, and avoid being distracted by colours. This is a small series of monochrome images that I took while I was there.