If you have ever been on holiday to Devon, Cornwall or West Wales (and probably numerous other places I haven’t been too) and driven around the countryside whilst on holiday then you will be familiar with the notion of the tree tunnel. The tree tunnel is one of the treats of going away. They do have them in Staffordshire and Shropshire, but not many. I have always loved tree tunnels and you see them everywhere in Devon and Cornwall.
A tree tunnel is a usually square-roofed, but sometimes more rotund, natural ‘tunnel’ of trees that stretches over a road that isn’t a main road but isn’t quite a teeny tiny country one either. It is usually one of those in between roads, the sort of road that lorry sat navs send lorries down in error. Over time, these trundling lost lorries create a natural shape out of the stretching overarching tree branches that have grown over head. The shape of the lorries, which is often square, creates an amazing man-made-natural phenomenon which is known as the tree tunnel.
I’ve recently become quite interested in such examples where nature and man interact to create new objects, particularly accidental ones. I want to find other examples. I’ve just more-or-less finished my MA thesis, which I fondly call The Beast, and my argument in that centres on this idea of the democracy of things and the impact that objects (whether they be organic or inorganic) have on each other. So my love of tree tunnels goes one step further. Not only are objects (lorries and their drivers, and trees) having an impact on each other, they are creating a new object (the tree tunnel) that would not otherwise exist if it hadn’t been for the existence of the two creators: trees and lorries.
Isn’t that simply amazing? Perhaps this is the gem of an idea for a future PhD I might one day decide to do. I just can’t seem to stop.