Monthly Tree Place
Each month we featured a special place occupied by Trees in Bakewell, with pictures, history and local information. Scroll down to see more monthly places.
FEBRUARY : Coombs Road Bridge & Hawthorn Hedges
(Click for full size pictures)
It was a long climb for the trains steaming out of Bakewell Station towards Haddon. For more than fifty years the bridge stood amidst the noise and bustle of goods trains, express passenger trains to London and the local engines as they rumbled through the valley. There is no need for a viaduct now. The railway is closed and the path on the track bed finishes before the bridge, and yet it belongs in this place. It stands as a transition point.
This delightful bridge, one large arch and two small side arches, acts as a boundary between the straight road, wide fields and distant views of Bakewell and the slopes of a magical valley with curving lane, woodlands and grassy pastures.
Here, the sheep and cows graze in fields bordered by neatly trimmed spiky hedges. The hawthorn has been used for centuries as a barrier plant. It is easily trimmed and carries small profuse white, pink or red flowers in spring and red berries in Autumn. It has been called the 'bread and cheese' bush as the leaves can be eaten. But we are always warned not to bring it into the home as that is very unlucky. The flowers contain trimethylamine, a chemical released from rotting flesh. The smell reminds us of another transition, our own, death.
On old Victorian maps the bridge is shown spanning Coombs Lane, a quiet track up to a few hill farms. Coomb, means a deep valley, and is a Celtic term. Often Anglo Saxon words replaced Celtic place names but in secluded places some remain. In the 20th century the Lane changed and was upgraded to a Road, as the car came to dominate transport. Few cars now go beyond the bridge as the road is gated. But everyday there is the noise and bustle of ramblers doing the Haddon 'circuit', walking the dog or enjoying the peaceful countryside. Walking under the old railway arch into Coombs valley you certainly have an awareness of moving into a different space in time.
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