Grand

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In the park at Cliffe Castle in Keighley stands a vast, magnificent beech tree. All alone, it has grown unhindered to reach upwards and outwards with no competition from other trees and the size of it is awe inspiring – I calculate it’s 4 or 5 times bigger than a 3 storey house – but it’s not just the height and breadth of it that make it so impressive. It has presence.

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All trees have their own character but some are more outstanding than others, and this beech has grown to become fully itself in all its unique, monumental glory. It’s such a landmark that you can find its picture on Google earth.

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I’ve tried to photograph it many times and at all seasons of the year but I’ve never once captured the essence of what it is. Grand is a word we use too lightly, but truly, this tree deserves to be called grand, with all the full resonance and meaning of the word.

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