HOUSE OF LORDS MEETING
Jul 11, 2019 —
Yesterday evening was a landmark in the history of pursuing legal protection for ancient yews. Beyond the tangible excitement and optimism of this historic meeting in the House of Lords, with all the tree organisations and Baroness Jenny Jones, was her astonishing assertion that getting this protection ‘should be quite easy’, given that we were doing this ‘at the right time’. I took this to mean in the light of climate change and the need to change our ways and attitudes to the natural world if we are to secure our own survival. Certainly I find there is a great new interest in ancient yew trees, like never before and along with Jenny Jones, Owen Paterson MP and one time Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, also declared he ‘strongly supports’ our campaign! In the light of Brexit, it is of course, a matter of national pride to have the largest collection of ancient yews on earth in Britain, and since yesterday evening, this is seen as an important issue that must be addressed to protect our UK ancient heritage yew trees.
Those at the meeting besides myself, Jenny Jones and Owen Paterson included Julian Hight, tree author, (next to me in the photo), and on the right, Andy Egan of the International Tree Foundation, Rob Mc Bride (Tree Hunter) of Treespect, our Barrister Paul Powlesland and arborist Jerry Ross. Others at the meeting included Jon Stokes and Holly Chetan Welsh of the Tree Council, particularly ardent supporters of this campaign, broadcaster and nature writer Paul Evans and Russell Ball consulting arborist and founder of Fund4Trees, who was also one time European Tree Officer. Also represented were the Woodland Trust, Conservation Foundation and Ancient Tree Forum, along with members of the public and other interested parties. It must be said this campaign is merely a follow on from decades of work done to gain protection by the Woodland Trust, Tree Council and Ancient Yew Group, although the meeting last evening described it as an inspiring new movement, a new spirit in an old issue.
I wonder what the ancient Hittites would have made of it all! Dr. Halil Tekin, and other archaeologists made recent significant discoveries when they unearthed vessels portraying Tree of Life motifs, very obviously a Yew tree in the Domuztepe Mound in Turkey. Tekin has stated that ‘It is not an ordinary tree. It is related to a faith system, and a burial tradition’. The vessels are said to be from 7,000 BC, in other words they are 9,000 years old!
What we are doing in our own way, is unearthing ancient truths and forgotten sacred knowledge, in order to re-instate them and re-infuse the mystery and knowledge of the Tree of Life into the life blood of our own culture and heritage, enabling the rebuilding of a sense of the sacred through the thousands of years old yew trees, left to us by our ancestors.
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