A bare bird pecked stump marks the remnants of the Dowly Tree which once stood solitary and stoic on our property amongst the limestone outcrops of Little Asby Common. 

Dowly is Westmorland dialect for sad, lonely, melancholy and it appears therefore that this was the lonely tree but one which once commanded inspiring views across the common to the Northern Howgills and the Pennines beyond. 

We're planning to plant a new tree and visitors to the common may have noticed a new structure, a Treefold, which will provide a fitting home and much needed shelter for a sapling to take over the Dowly’s solitary vigil of the common. 

As part of the Long View project, created to highlight seven remarkably ordinary trees in seven extraordinary locations across Cumbria, Rob and Harriet Fraser, photographer and writer have created the Treefold together with another at Grizedale and a further scheduled to be built elsewhere in Cumbria later this year.  

The Treefold at Little Asby has been built with the help of the extremely talented master waller, Andy Mason from Kirkby Lonsdale, and stone carver and lithographer, Pip Hall from Cowgill in Dentdale. 

(pictured: Andy Mason building the Treefold at Little Asby)

It has been constructed with stone found locally with traditional techniques and around the centre of the treefold, a line of poetry has been carved into stone. The drystone ‘fold’ will embrace a new tree and offer a space for people to sit and pause, and revisit it over the years. 

Jan Darrall, policy officer, 

“We’re delighted with the treefold on our property at Little Asby which we hope will become a significant feature in the landscape and provide shelter for a new sapling which may go on to create its own piece of history.” 

The treefolds are part of Common Ground’s Charter Art Residency programme, which involves eight artists (or artist collaborations) across the UK who are creating legacies to mark the 800th anniversary of the original Charter of the Forest, and the launch of a new Charter for Trees, Woods and People this year.

Little Asby Common is open access land situated about five miles east of Orton. If you’re interested in visiting, more information about the common and directions can be found here: