Trees of Marchmont 3

The boundary bundle

a large beech tree trunk covered in white lichen

I do love a boundary beech. They have a kind of pioneer spirit about them – often grown in exposed positions, they need to be strong. Many Scottish ones like this were planted on stone dykes or banks, with their root systems tracking along a line on either side, creating a wooden wall effect.

artist Tansy Lee Moir sketching a tree in the woods

Given its size and position in relation to others in the row, I might guess this one was bundle planted, meaning a number of young trees were planted together. This technique was used in 18th/19thC designed landscapes to quickly create the effect of large established trees in new parkland. However I imagine a different reason here on the hillside – perhaps a forester two centuries ago was getting tired and hungry after a long day planting and sneaked the last few whips into one last hole?

a beech tree trunk

However the tree got here, the trunk still bubbles with life. A tangle of ghosts jostle with each other in there. White lichen on the south-east side of the trunk accentuates that ghostly feel, it almost glows in the spring light. I made quite a few sketches of it before becoming a little overwhelmed by its complexity and recording some video as back up. It was such a peaceful place to draw, a great viewpoint south across the Borders, despite the riot of wood in front of me.

See it for yourself in this short video.

Read the full Marchmont story here.