Last week a remote hawthorn was transformed by a dressing of fresh green leaves, each with a loving message.

Friends of the Lake District members and children from Orton School were among almost three hundred people who added dedications to the hawthorn last week. People from across the country wrote messages onto leaves, celebrating friendship, family and the pleasure of being outdoors. The hawthorn tree on Little Asby Common became radiant for a single afternoon, banishing the winter gloom with its temporary canopy.

The Little Asby Hawthorn is one of seven trees that are part of The Long View, a project celebrating trees in Cumbria and telling the stories of the landscape around them. The Long View is being run by photographer Rob Fraser and writer Harriet Fraser. Landscape charity Friends of the Lake District is one of the project partners and the hawthorn stands on land that it owns close to Sunbiggin Tarn, within the new extension of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Friends of the Lake District helped to organise public walks to the trees, and were delighted to involve their members in this tree dressing. 

One member wrote in: ‘Thank you, what a wonderful idea. It goes right to the heart of Christmas and people’s thoughts for each other often not spoken.’

Sophie Hodge, fundraising officer at Friends of the Lake District said: “We are so grateful to each Friends of the Lake District supporter who wrote a dedication on a leaf and donated to our woodland appeal. This wonderful project helps us understand and express the vital role of trees in our landscape. Through the £6,000 that has been raised through this leaf dedication we will look after native woodlands in our care, ensuring they thrive for many more generations to come. Thank you to everyone who participated and donated.”

Harriet Fraser said the event was very moving. “Each message was so positive. We were surrounded by love and good wishes, fond memories, words of celebration and hope, and a profound love and appreciation of the natural world and the value of getting outside. Hanging the messages in such a beautiful place was a very special thing to do.”

The addition of green leaves to the hawthorn was the third in a series of seven temporary colour transformations at the seven trees. Photographs of the installations and of the trees through all seasons, together with poetry inspired by the trees and their extraordinary locations, will be shown in an exhibition launching in the galleries at Grizedale Forest in June 2017.

More info at