Tree of the week: ‘Like the haunted figure in Munch’s The Scream, he reflects our times’


As I take my daily run, I always feel pleasure at the sight of this old sycamore, which despite his look of agonised vulnerability reminds me of strength and compassion

Most days, since I started working from home, I walk or run through the National Trust’s Hughenden estate, near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire. This was the home of the 19th-century prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, who had a passion for trees and planted specimens from all over the world in these grounds.

I begin the ascent towards the manor house gates, nodding to dog walkers as I pass. At the high point of the hill, alongside the mature horse chestnuts and newly planted oaks, I greet my stricken friend: the scream tree, who reminds me of the haunted figure in Edvard Munch’s 1893 painting The Scream. I am always pleased to see him but, at the same time, he gives me a jolt.

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