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Warden Trees

A walk co-devised with Roo Hocking, inspired by the Norse concept of Warden Trees:

Warden Trees: central trees in towns and villages thought to be bringers of luck and guardians of the people. In return for their protection, locals made offerings (often beer), and they were considered non-human figures in the community.

During the walk were interested to explore with others what we might consider to be 'warden trees' in our own neighbourhoods be they landmarks, holders of local identity and memory, markers of a transition. Inspired by the symbolic exchange of care contained in the Warden Trees tradition (luck and guardianship in exchange for offerings) we wanted to unearth already existing two way acts of care, and discuss together those we might want to build on.

The walk saw over thirty people come together to collectively map out a route to see the trees we all felt to be significant in our combined neighbourhoods, and think through together the ways in which they could be our warden tree. On route we talked through  different ways we give and receive care for trees: to include legal means of enacting care and to conclude we explored the mechanism of  Tree Protection Orders as a way to help safeguard.

- Photos by Betty Hagglund

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