Tree following: Tree Routes

As far I understand it, the path running past Christ Church was at one point the old Walsall Rd, ‘realigned under an Act of 1832 with the new Queen Street and Walsall Road bypassing the route along Lower Sandford Street and what was later called Christchurch Lane. That lane takes its name from the church opened in 1847, and by then it had been continued south-west from the church to the new Walsall road, the old line from Lower Sandford Street having been turned into a drive for Beacon Place’.(1)

The path is surrounded by trees that I believe were planted in the mid-19th century by the Hinckleys of Beacon Place, the estate that occupied most of what is now Beacon Park between 1800-ish and 1964, when the house was demolished.

So that’s a bit of historical scene setting, now what about the tree!

There’s one along this path in particular that seems to attract attention. Several people have commented on it in the past. I even heard a girl refer to it as ‘The Skeleton Tree’! I’m not even sure what kind of tree this is but how could I resist following it?!

How do holes like this form in a tree? As usual, on nature matters I can’t offer any upfront answers (though rest assured I shall be trying to find out, part of the reason I’m doing this is to learn things!) but I can give you a peep into the hole nearest to the ground.

And a close up of the one at the top…….

Nearby, the snowdrops are looking very shabby now.

I love to see these little flowers at the end of the winter, but I have to confess I’m even happier when I see these…

Not quite a host, but enough to signal that spring has arrived in this part of Lichfield! The wild garlic has also made an appearance. The aroma from the leaves is incredible, I’m sorry I can’t share it. No pretty white flowers yet though, let’s see what April brings for the Old Walsall Road!

Talking of Walsall, I’ve just found out that the brilliant & enthusiatic Morgan, a Walsall Countryside Ranger has started a Walsall Wildlife blog. She’s one of the most knowledgable people I know about nature and I’ve learnt loads from her (although clearly this is very much an ongoing education 😉 ). I really recommend that you check out this and the Walsall Wildlife flickrstream.  I bet Morgan even knows how those holes in the trees got there……!


(1)’Lichfield: The 19th century’, A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 14: Lichfield (1990), pp. 24-32. URL:  Date accessed: 25 March 2012.


4 thoughts on “Tree following: Tree Routes

  1. Kate,
    I think your tree maybe a sycamore the holes are the result of a canker if a
    insect bores into the bark it leaves a scar then infection sets in and a hole
    forms as the tree grows the hole gets bigger until it sometimes the whole
    middle of the tree is hollowed out ,some trees seem to be prone to this
    like yew trees also oak.


  2. Wow, this area brings back memories. My relatives are buried in the graveyard next to the Church. One memory is when once I was a little over the edge after a night in the “Carpenters Arms”. After the said night out I walked down the side of the Church and saw a dark tall figure all in black on the outside of the graveyard. This was definately a human like figure because I went a little closer to investigate, brave after the drink you see. I moved rather quickly then away from the area. My Mother questioned me over it the following day. I mentioned that the figure was on the outside of the graveyard. Apparently that’s because evil cannot dwell within Holy Ground! It was a person, but whether it was a ghost or just another drunken person I do not know. I can remember not seeing a face though. Maybe the drink inside me and the thoughts of walking past a graveyard spooked me!

    I remember seeing the route of the old road before the bypass was built, quite some time ago I think.


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