Sunset at the abbey and land of the wishing trees
The old Augustan monastery dates back to the 12th century, being founded in 1120. Of course, it succumbed to the same fate as other abbeys under Henry VIII when he enacted the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1540. In fact, building work was still going on at the time and had to be abandoned.
Today the estate comprises some 30,000 acres of moorland and woodland, something its managers are keen to make greater use of.
To that end, the picturesque surroundings are being used as a backdrop for a number of outdoor performances.
Welsh Mezzo Soprano Katherine Jenkins OBE and the National Symphony Orhestra played there at the weekend and in October there will be a pumpkin trail to mark Hallowe’en; Father Christmas is already booked for December.
The estate has many wondrous things to see and do, not least of which are the famous stepping stones across the river but there is also the Launde Oak, which is said to be over 800 years old and which marks the ancient border between two forests. Acorns from the oak are fastidiously collected and sent off to a nursery, after which some are returned to be planted nearby.
But perhaps some of the strangest sights to be found on the estate are the so-called ‘money trees’, a fusion of nature and mankind, where coins can be found embedded in the wood of fallen trees. Visitors are invited to try pulling them out.
Cross sections of the trees reveal the practise must have been conducted for several decades, if not over hundreds of years. In fact, the phenomenon is thought to date back to Pagan times - also called ‘wishing trees’, it was a local custom to press money into trees to cure an illness or right a wrong.
But the practise has no benefit for the tree, which normally dies.
Technical details: Nikon D4, 17-35mm lens, exposure of 8secs @ f16 with graduated and neutral density filters. ISO 100