Hawthorn: In praise of Crataegus monogyna.

Hawthorn, Quickthorn, May, Mayblossom, Whitethorn, Haw, Faery Tree…

Inspirational Hawthorn

Inspirational Hawthorn.

‘Just’ one of the things that I love about Dartmoor – are the small, hardy Hawthorns that grow amid the granite clitter of the moorland slopes…

New life - May Blossom on Dartmoor

New life under the May.

With sturdy, gnarled trunks – and thick, thorny tangles, of wind-sculpted branches – they give shelter from the biting chill of a Dartmoor Winter – to animals and birds that inhabit the Moor.  And in Summer – their dense canopies of dark, green foliage provide a cool refuge – shielding sheep and wild ponies – and even a weary wayfarer – from the heat of the day.

Sheep under the Quickthorn

Sheep under the Quickthorn.

Crown of Thorns


Gnarled and knobbly - and as old as the hills!

Gnarled and knobbly…and as old as the hills!

Dartmoor Hawthorn under waxing gibbous Moon.

Dartmoor Hawthorn and waxing gibbous Moon.

Anytime now, Hawthorns will be budding with soft, new leaves – heralding longer, warmer days ahead – and Mayblossom…

Hawthorn in a wooded area near Burrator

Faery Tree near Burrator.

For me though – Autumn is the time when the Hawthorn is at its zenith – laden with blood-red berries – it presents the crowning glory of the turning year.

Crowning Glory

Hawthorn near Lanehead, Dartmoor.

A glut of berries help sustain the bird population throughout the harsher season…

Winter Hawthorn - Dartmoor

Winter Haws – beside the B3357 Tavistock to Pricetown Rd – Dartmoor.

The ‘humble’ Dartmoor Hawthorn – and its holy cousin, the fabled Thorn of Glastonbury – both grow upon sites that are linked by an invisible energy – a mystical ley line that tracks across ancient and sacred places – from Cornwall to the Norfolk coast – and beyond…

Several Dartmoor Tors – most notably Brentor…

Brent Tor - Dartmoor

Rock of ages.  St. Michael de Rupe – Brentor – Dartmoor.

– are directly linked by the Saint Michael Alignment

Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor –


Pilgrimage.  And did those feet in ancient time…

St. Michaels' Tower - Glastonbury Tor.

St. Michael’s Tower atop Glastonbury Tor.

as are Glastonbury Tor – and the Hurlers stone circle, near Pensilva – the place where I was born!  (The house that I was born in – is fascinatingly documented here on the Pensilva History Group website.)

Hurler hugging. Bodmin Moor.

Touchstone.  Hurlers – Bodmin Moor.

It is probably no coincidence then – that I always feel energised by the simple act of touching a Hawthorn tree – or an ancient stone – when visiting these sacred places and when walking on the hills…

Hawthorn near Rowtor.

Hawthorn at Cheesewring.  Near site of Hurlers Stone Circles - Bodmin Moor.

Wind-sculpted Hawthorn on Stowe’s Hill (Cheesewring right).  Near site of Hurlers – Bodmin Moor.

Om.  (Cheesewring detail.)

Om. (Cheesewring detail.)

Touchable, huggable, tappable

Strokeable. Huggable. Tappable.  Weathered Hawthorn – Dartmoor.

Refuge in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey

Ancient bole in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey.

Inspired by Hawthorns here, there and everywhere – and especially those closest to my heart – on Dartmoor, Bodmin and at Glastonbury – I made a token sprig to hang within my home – to me it symbolises the powerful, magical, inspirational – and everyday practical virtues of this most characterful of native trees…

Perch for swallows and life-giving host to Mistletoe

Life-giving host; Mistletoe and Swallows.  Hawthorn on Glastonbury Tor.

In tree lore – it is considered unlucky to bring real Hawthorn inside – so a small sprig crafted from glass, copper and lead is a wise precaution…

In-fused; glass, copper and lead

In-fused; glass, copper and lead.

In situ.

In situ.


Dryad; the living tree – Dartmoor.

Shadowland.  Hawthorn at Hurlers, Bodmin Moor.

Shadowland. Hawthorn at Hurlers, Bodmin Moor.

Avebury eye.

Saint Michael Alignment.   Avebury ‘eye’ and beyond…