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.
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.
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.