Tree tribute to fallen soldiers set to grow in Goathland

Keith Thompson with one of the soldier tributes. Picture by Ceri Oakes.
Keith Thompson with one of the soldier tributes. Picture by Ceri Oakes.

Twelve English oak trees have been planted in Goathland to help tell the story of the 12 men of the village who lost their lives in WWI.

The trees have been planted by the children of Goathland Primary School, helping to connect a new generation to their local WWI heritage and create a living memorial that can be visited by members of the public.

Keith Thompson with one of the soldier tributes. Picture by Ceri Oakes.

Keith Thompson with one of the soldier tributes. Picture by Ceri Oakes.

The project, which will see a Centenary Walk established past the site of the trees, has been made possible thanks to the work of the Goathland Community Hub and Sports Pavilion CIO, which has been awarded a grant of £9,400 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project is also supported by the North York Moors National Park Trust, a new charity that aims to protect and improve the Moors while keeping its heritage and tradition alive.

Andy Wilson, chair of the North York Moors National Park Trust said: “Goathland’s rail heritage, spectacular waterfalls, and connections to popular-culture make it a favourite destination for visitors to the Moors. However, its wartime history and the story of the commemorative oaks in particular are completely unknown outside of a handful of people in the local community.

“The Trust is delighted to be supporting the creation of this living memorial. One of our constant aims is to help forge powerful connections between people and landscapes and across generations, and this project will achieve that in spades.”

Keith Thompson, chairman of the Goathland Community Hub and Sports Pavilion added: “In 1922 a lady called Kate Smailes, who had lost her own son in WWI, planted 12 English oak trees to commemorate the 12 men of Goathland village who had made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Kate carefully chose a location for her trees along the old railway line, where she could see them every day on her favourite walk.

“Now, 100 years later, we plan to retell this poignant tale by planting 12 oak saplings and establishing a two-mile circular trail that will take in both the remaining historic oaks and the 12 new trees.”