Celebrate Arbor Day in the small South Shropshire village of Aston-on-Clun,
Date: 26 May 19 — 26 May 19 | Report this event.
Entrance Price free Per person
In the middle of the little village of Aston on Clun, in South Shropshire, is a Black Poplar Tree, which becomes the focus of attention involving a unique tree dressing ceremony, each year on the last Sunday in May.
Aston-on-Clun in the south of the county is one of the few villages in the UK that still celebrates Arbor Day. The festival is held every May in the centre of the little village, where a black poplar tree stands.
This poplar becomes the focus of attention when villagers come together for a unique tree dressing ceremony. On the last Sunday in May the poplar is freshly dressed with flags, which then remain on the tree throughout the year.
The tree is known as the Arbor Tree. Its tradition is steeped in history and mystery, dating back to Celtic times.
“It has survived – to become the only village in Britain where this annual custom survives.”
Rosie Evans, secretary for the Arbor Tree Festival committee
Tree dressing used to be a popular event in many of Britain’s villages. In 1660, Charles II declared 29 May a public holiday, known as Oak Apple Day.
The holiday was abolished in 1859 and the tradition was largely lost with it. But not in the small Shropshire village of Aston-on-Clun. Thanks to hard work by local people, the festival thrives, attracting visitors from around the world.
Tragedy threatened in September 1995 when the 300-year-old black poplar tree was brought down in a storm. However, this was replaced with a sapling which had fittingly been taken from the original tree 20 years earlier.
These days Arbor Day festivities include a variety of events in a carnival atmosphere. Concerts, displays, morris dancing, stalls, an 18th Century procession, and much more mean that there’s plenty for all the family to enjoy from 1pm