Since November 2015, husband and wife team, photographer Rob Fraser and writer Harriet Fraser, have been taking inspiration from seven trees in seven locations across Cumbria in The Long View, a project celebrating trees and landscape. Those months of work will culminate in June 2017 with the publication of a book and the opening of an exhibition, both entitled The Long View, in the galleries at Grizedale Forest visitor centre.

Friends of the Lake District provided £10,000 in sponsorship towards the project, are we are delighted to have one of the seven ‘Long View’ trees, a beautiful hawthorn, situated on our land at Little Asby common.

Rob and Harriet have photographed and written about the seven lone trees, and the landscapes around them, in all seasons and all weathers, day and night.  They have also created temporary art installations at the trees, exploring place, journeys, culture and environment.

“Interest in The Long View has been growing since we began the schools work and the public walk programme, and placed the first installation in Wasdale,” says Rob, “and people have been following our social media posts and blog. The Grizedale Forest exhibition will include artefacts from all seven installations as well as photographs, poems, prose and even real trees.  After a summer in Grizedale, The Long View exhibition will then go on tour to galleries and other venues in Brighton, Oxford, Manchester and Newcastle.”

“We’ve walked miles in all weathers and at all times of the day and night to capture the characters of these remarkably ordinary trees,” says Harriet, “and as well as walking alone, we have introduced more than 350 people to the trees.  The seven are: a hawthorn, a rowan, an alder, a pine, a sycamore, a birch and an oak.  Each one stands alone in its surroundings and has survived and thrived in an extraordinary location. The trees and the journeys to them have inspired all sorts of ideas and thoughts, for us and for other people who’ve visited the trees during the project.”

The most recent installation at the Kentmere Rowan is a poem stencilled onto the split rocks around the tree using Herdwick Show Red, a pigment for marking Herdwick sheep at show time.  

“We knew the tree from time spent walking in and around Kentmere,” explains Harriet, “and we knew the local farming family and their Herdwick flock too. The installation was inspired by our time alongside the farmers and celebrates the strong culture of farming in this valley, and across Cumbria, and the beautiful rowan towering above the rocks. ”

The three previous installations included the dressing of the Little Asby Hawthorn with messages from three hundred people, and large scale interventions at the Glencoyne Pine and the Wasdale Oak. Three more are planned before May and all seven will be featured in the exhibition and publication in June.

In the 18 months of the project, in parallel with the walks and contributions to the installations, people have also been contributing images and stories of their own special trees to The Long View website.  The Long View project has been funded by a mixture of arts and landscape organisations, including the Lake District National Park Authority, Arts Council England, Friends of the Lake District, the National Trust and the Woodland Trust, an indication of how The Long View has crossed boundaries between culture and the environment, exactly as Rob and Harriet intended.

“When we started the project, it was all about slowly getting to know the trees and the land around them,” says Rob. “Our work is based around encounters with the natural world, a revelation of stories and a growing understanding of issues connected with specific places. We hope that The Long View exhibition and book will give people an opportunity to pause among the trees that we have come to know so well, and appreciate the value of slowing down and exploring what at first glimpse may seem ordinary but are actually quite extraordinary places.”

The Long View exhibition opens at the galleries in Grizedale Forest on Wednesday 21 June and the book is launched on the same date.  Rob and Harriet will be giving an artists’ talk at Grizedale Forest in the Yan on Saturday 22 July.  Tickets for this are available online at