chapter  37
Ritually recycling the landscape
WithCeri Houlbrook
Pages 8

This chapter demonstrates how even seemingly isolated landscapes can be beset by cultural and environmental changes. It explores how such landscapes are adapted to accommodate changing rituals and, vice versa, how rituals are adjusted to fit within altered environments. British landscapes have long been the stage for ritual. Ritually recycling is only one of the many metaphors used to express the organic processes. It has long been recognised that landscapes, and our cultural perceptions of them, are mutable. The landscape has been ritually recycled once more: a tree has been transformed into a votive altar, possibly replacing a stone predecessor. By the 1950s, people had begun inserting coins into the stake used to prop up the original tree as well as into the barks of surrounding trees. The tree on Isle Maree did not remain a nail-tree for long.