AS we wait with much concern to see if the fungal threat spreads around the UK causing devastation among the ash trees throughout the countryside, I can sadly reflect a Welsh poem taught at school many years ago.

It is sometimes sung accompanied by a harp:

The Ash Grove

Down yonder green valley
Where streamlets meander
When twilight is fading I pensively rove
Or at the bright noontide in solitude wander
Amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove
Tis there where the blackbird is cheerfully singing
Each warbler enchants with his notes from the tree
Ah, then little think I of sorrow or sadness
The Ash Grove entrancing spells beauty for me
The Ash Grove how graceful, how plainly ’tis speaking
The harp through its playing has language for me
Whenever the light through its branches is breaking
A host of kind faces is gazing at me
The friends of my childhood again are before me
Each step wakes a memory as freely I roam
With soft whispers laden, its leaves rustle o’er me
The Ash Grove, the Ash Grove alone in my home.

Here’s hoping this disease of the ash can be contained and we can save our woodlands.

D A Heald, Huntington Road, York.