Nellie's Tree
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Nellie's Tree

from The Barwicker No.61
Mar. 2001

The tree photographed on 1st May 2002

In a recent 'Desert Island Discs' programme, the naturalist Richard Mabey spoke about a letter he had received from Glenys Lund of Moreton in Lancashire, who told him the story of a tree (or trees) with close connections with her family.

This feature sounded like the strange beech tree complex known as the 'jug-handle tree', well known to ramblers on the historic Fly-line between Aberford and Garforth.

This was confirmed by Richard Mabey who referred us to page 80 of his book 'Flora Britannica', published by Sinclair-Lewis in 1996.

He points out how young beech trees graft very readily, even from close natural contact, and he quotes the lady's letter as follows:

"My father lived in Garforth and Mother worked as a live-in dairy maid in Aberford, so he used to walk down the Fly-line (a disused railway track) to visit her. He found 3 beech saplings growing by the path and - as he was courting Nellie - he grafted the middle trunk across to the left-hand sapling to form the letter N. He gave it the name Nellie's Tree. This would be about 1920 and the tree is still there."