Reprinted from Newsletter 116, dated 2005 August–September

Trees: only one bough survives of Gog and Magog

Ian Rands

We met, nine of us, in the carpark of the Rural Life Museum on July 16. Everyone agreed to the suggested itinerary and off we set towards the Apple Tree Pub at West Pennard. There we were met by Keith and Jose Matthews, on whose land your society planted about a thousand forest trees.

Nine years ago the site was little more than the area where earth had been tidied after a pretty extensive reorganization of the A361 road near the old West Pennard railway station. Now it is a fine sight: oak, ash, field maple, wild cherry, poplar, whitebeam, beech, conker, willow, guelder rose — all waving gently in the breeze on a very hot summer’s afternoon.

Keith took us around on a guided tour, and Jose provided cider or orange juice in the shade in their garden. Thank you both for an interesting time.

Most of us then moved on to the Old Oaks caravan site at Wick Farm, where we were met by Jim and Sally White. First of all we had to walk to pay our respects to Gog and Magog, the two oaks said to be a thousand years old. Gog appears to have died only this year; Magog still lives in one large bough.

Twelve years ago your society realized that Gog and Magog would not last forever, and that they needed some replacements to keep them company in their old age. We planted 135 oak trees in cattleguards, each 13 yards apart like Gog and Magog, stretching a mile.

Most of us walked up the oak row to Paradise Lane. Thank you to Ian and Carol Tucker for permission to wander over their land, nowhere near the footpaths, and to visit the Jubilee Wood.

If readers have not visited Gog and Magog, they should use this as a reminder, and do take the chance to walk along the oak row as well, If travelling east out of West Pennard, take a look at the trees on the left just before the Apple Tree pub — they will glad your eye.