Face to face with the snake-haired Gorgon

I popped along to see how Medusa’s fairing. Deciding to approach the old dear from above, I descended through a remaining swathe of coniferous trees, sheltered briefly from the incessant rain. For a moment I thought I had blown it as I sled on my derrière past the massive split boulder through which the ancient oak had forced her way through. My studs failing to gain much grip. But the monster slept and I could gaze into eyes without fear of being turned to stone.

Medusa is the name given by local forestry workers to this ancient oak tree. The Woodland Trust, in its inventory of ancient trees, records the tree’s girth as 6 metres and estimates its age as over 240 years, which would put its germination around the time of the American War of Independence. But by all accounts that age is very conservative.

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