The Felicity Tree Story and the Peak Guidebook

In the Peak District, and our book, as well as beautiful landscapes, moorland, gorges, dales, stately homes, farms and cliffs, there are lots of trees featured. One tree in particular has a special section devoted to it.

The Felicity Tree

Chris and myself wrote and photographed the Peak book starting in December 2014, and had most of it completed by February 2016 – that isn’t strictly true as Chris is a professional photographer and photographic tutor who lives in Cressbrook and has been photographing and exploring the Peak District for over 20 years, so he had a whole library of images that we could use.

It was a hectic 18-months for us both with many early sunrise shoots and dark finishes, with late nights and weekends scribing away on the computer, processing photographs and looking at maps. One relief for me was visiting a certain tree that I often used to drive by on the way to locations; an old ash tree in limestone country that I christened the Felicity Tree.

Felicity is my 16-year old daughter. She lives in the USA with her mother Gabriella and my son, Xavier (yes there is a Xavier tree – but that is for another book).

I visited the Felicity Tree most months and in all weathers, as the sun rose and as it set, come rain or shine. It was a moment of relief for me, an escape from a busy schedule.

Trees are wonderful photographic subjects and most of us are drawn to them and for good reasons. Not only are they pretty to look at and linger under, their role on earth is bound to ours: they are part of the lungs of the planet recycling carbon dioxide and providing us with oxygen, they are a food source for all animals, they help soil conservation and prevent flooding, a fuel, a construction material, they are a carbon store that helps the climate, they even reduce violence and help heal the human soul and mind. Without them we would be lost.

Last week it was with great joy that Felicity got to visit her tree. She was over on a three week holiday and as well as trips to Scotland, London and South Wales, Chris and myself gave her a brief tour of the Peak District first to her tree then up to Stanage finishing with a walk up Fair Brook to Kinder Scout and a visit to the Downfall.

Almost perfect timing; she went back to the USA this week, just before the publication of Photographing The Peak District, with a signed copy off to her next week.



Mick Ryan

Director of fotoVUE and Co-author of Photographing The Peak District
Mick Ryan is the founder and the director of fotoVUE. He is based in Calderdale having spent the last seven years in the Peak District. He also spends part of the year in Saratoga Springs, upstate New York. He is the founder of Rockfax guidebooks and introduced well-designed large-format photo-topo...

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