A Village Journey

Special trees in the village of Ollerton

The use of trees to commemorate special events or enhance specific areas in a community is steeped in history, and it is with this in mind that I thought it would be of interest to record in some way the trees that were planted in the villages with the same objective.

The Parish Post magazine presented an opportunity to record what I know of the special trees in the villages and their history and we now reproduce this here on the village web-site. The record is based on memory since coming to live in Ollerton in 1962. With the advantage of being a founder member of the Ollerton parish meetings and the first elected member of the Ollerton Parish Council when the parish meeting was changed to become a Parish Council.

The record is based on my knowledge and involvement in parish affairs and I am sure that is not complete, so I leave it to others to fill in any gaps.

Where do we start?­

Perhaps a good starting point is the Ollerton cross roads area and then progress through Ollerton and into Marthall. Between the Dun Cow and the cross roads in the grounds of two cottages, located on the road frontage of the former Caldwell’s rose nursery, but now demolished, there is I believe the only remaining Walnut tree in the villages. The bus stop finds two Horse Chestnut trees on either side of the bus shelter planted by Mr. Horace Hutton, former Chairman of the Parish Council to make the shelter more attractive at this focal point in the villages. Planted in the grass triangle adjacent to the bus shelter is a Rowan (Sorbus - Joseph Rock), which at the time of writing is carrying a mass of small yellow berries, which was planted to commemorate three ladies Mrs. Beatrice Bowker ,Mary Horn and Jessie Matheson who ran the village shop and post office (1947-1975) which was situated at the main road end of Toll Bar Cottages. Due to the danger of restricted vision coming out of Marthall Lane into the busy main road the property was demolished in the late 1970's and the business moved over the road..

200 yards down the main road on the left hand side at the entrance to Beachcroft there is a large mature Holm oak, a species of Oak that keeps its leaves through the winter and quite rare. A request was made by the Parish Council to have a tree preservation order placed on this tree but this was unsuccessful.

Having passed Marthall Lane, it is worth noting that when I came to live in Ollerton there was a second large Walnut tree on the right just passed Oaklands Road from which one could gather Walnuts, but I am sad to say this has been was reduced to a stump some time ago, what a loss to the village and the countryside

Returning to the main road and on entering School Lane, we find a row of Black Poplar trees on the right hand side planted in the early 80's by Donald and Doris Whealton who farmed Sycamore Farm on the left hand side. Donald planted the trees to enhance the hedge row and entrance to School Lane. Sadly one or two have been lost due to natural causes over the years..

It may be of interest to note the stone wall on the right hand side which was built by Donald’s father at the time of their relocation from the Peak District. All the stone was transported by tractor from there previous farm and the wall was built by them in the traditional dry stone wall manner.

Continuing down School Lane we see a majestic Beech Tree outside Beech Farm entrance and was one of two from which the farm gained its name. Unfortunately one has been lost due to natural ageing. Continuing on to Ollerton Lodge, to the right against the skyline you can find a very old Beech Tree which Mr. David Charlesworth informs me was planted some 300 years ago. It is a sobering thought that the tree started its life in the reign of William III (1689-1702 ) and has lived through all the historic changes since that time.

On the opposite side to the Ollerton Lodge garden wall is a row of mixed trees again planted by Mr. Horace Hutton who moved from Ollerton Hall to the house called The Shippon converted from farm buildings of a farm at that location owned the Smethhursts. Further down School Lane and in front of the village pond you can find a row of 5 trees planted by the Parish Council. During a recent community effort to tidy up the pond it was discovered that one of the trees had died and I have planted a young Mountain Ash (Rowan Sorbus Commixta) to replace it. I hope it survives to take its place alongside the others.

In the centre of the grass triangle at the junction with Moss Lane and School Lane stands the queen Victoria Jubilee Lime Tree planted to mark this great occasion in her reign. Across the road standing behind the Council notice board is a common Oak Tree, planted by the Council For The Protection Of Rural England to mark the 80th birthday of the Queen mother. (1980). There is a plaque at the base of the tree recording this event. Some 100yds down the road there is a Swedish Hornbeam which was planted by the children from the school to mark the present Queen's Silver Jubilee (1977) and was part of the village celebrations at that time.

Continuing down School Lane to the grass triangle at the junction with Percivals Lane on the right situated in the corner area of the field a number mixed trees has been planted by Mr. Michael Butterworth which will mature to form a small woodland copse in future years. This replicates a similar planting in the late 80's by his father Sir Neville Butterworth in the woodland adjoining my paddock.

George Littler