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This report is taken from PN Review 255, Volume 47 Number 1, September - October 2020.

Some trees and some further trees John Clegg
It’s impossible to judge definitively from Google Earth, but I think that the white blotches visible in satellite view at 51°59’02.1”N 2°23’43.9”W are tree stumps; in which case they are all that remains of the trees written about by Robert Frost, in his poem ‘The Sound of Trees’ (from Mountain Interval, 1916). They were a clump of elms called the Seven Sisters, in Lascelles Abercrombie’s back garden, at ‘The Gallows’, Ryton, Dymock (near Ledbury). Catherine Abercrombie had a ‘permanent tent’ there, and cooked duck and green peas in a cauldron under an open fire. A great number of Georgian poets came to visit, some camping out, others in spare rooms, others occupying the property when the Abercrombies were away: Edward Thomas, Ivor Gurney, W.H. Davies, Rupert Brooke, John Drinkwater who camped out but had to come back indoors because in the middle of the night he was ‘blown on by a horse’. Presumably all the trees were brought down by Dutch elm disease.

A hundred metres east of the Seven Sisters is the edge of Ryton Coppice, a tiny stretch of woodland (a kilometre north to south, 500m east to west at its widest point), which has tangential connections with two famous twentieth century poems. Frost began to draft ‘The Road Not Taken’ at The Gallows in late autumn 1914; Steve Nicholls, in Flowers of the Field: Meadow, Moor and Woodland (Head of Zeus, 2019) has pointed out that Rydon Coppice is a particularly yellow wood (‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood’) because its edges and clearings ...

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