I came across this rather sad sight on Barn Hill today and a couple stopped to talk about what used to be the 'Hollow Tree' or 'Blasted Oak' well known to locals and walkers.
The oak, hollowed out by a lightning stroke with a sooty interior where children could stand, has been hanging on to life for years, but must have been deemed unsafe. The couple's children had played in and around the tree as had many primary classes I take to the park in my work with Brent School Without Walls. The tree had a fairy story quality that immediately attracted children and stimulated many speculative questions and comments.
The sight of the felled remains of the tree was strangely moving, the end of a venerable oak that had been there for well over 100 years, and a marker of the passage of time and final, inevitable, decay.
Note: The oak was beside the footpath at the Beverly Gardens end of Barn Hill. There is another on the other side of Fryent Country Park at Beane Hill.