Words by Jessica Peace

Lovers have carved their names into beech bark since way back in the Roman day (not sure how we feel about this!). In Ovid’s The Heroides (sometime around 25 BC), he imagines Paris’s ex-lover ‘Oenone’ pining over him after he’s run off with Helen of Troy and started a war (natch). Oenone remembers her own name scratched into beech trunks, “written there by your knife”, before he f’d off with Helen.

In J.R.R.Tolkien’s Lord of the rings (1954), his fantasy tree ‘Hírilorn’, the ‘greatest of all the trees in the Forest of Neldoreth’ is a triple trunked beech - ‘The Forest of Neldoreth’ is a beech forest of course. These massive trunks were the backdrop for the romance of ‘Beren’ and ‘Lúthien’ - Tolkien was so mad about these characters, their names are on his gravestone.

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