I find that practically all the named historic trees (including Gospel Oaks) stand on leys. Such as King's Acre Elm, Eastwood Oak, Great Oak at Eardisley, Oak near Moreton-on-Lugg Bridge, etc. Place names (which in my previous articles on Crosses I too hastily held to signify the site of a cross) also indicate trees as marks. Such are Lyde Cross Tree, Cross of the Tree at Deerfold, Cross Oak, Cross Ash, Cross Colloe (hazel tree cross), and two leys cross at these points. Actual trees are shown at the cross roads in two of the above in Taylor's fine county map of 1757.
The Oak in the horse-shoe meadow at Ross is on the ley passing over Over Ross (the place name indicates it) and Wilton Castle. The steep little street coming down to the river from the Swan Hotel is dead on this ley.
Where a natural hill came under a ley it was often made a sighting point by the planting of a single tree, hence the numerous "one tree" hills, as at Backbury and on the Holmer Golf Links. All places called "The Grove" seem to be on a ley, and a small group of trees (as at Ladylift) was also used to mark a sighting point. Existing trees are probably successors of original ones.
I see evidence that at one time such trees were called the "stock." The site of the wayside cross at Winforton is known as the Stocks, and a marking tump in the lane for Bowley Town (or Court) has an ash on it, and is called by the same name, as are farms at Wellington, Almeley Woonton, etc. The highest point (a hill near the Three Elms on the "Roman" road from Kenchester to Lugg Bridge) is marked on the map as Bobblestock Hill. I have known it as Bubblestock, but have no doubt it was Baublestock, the tree or stock (we still buy apple stocks in the market) where men who peddled necklaces and other baubles met the buyers. To-day, if you ask in a shop whether they keep such goods, you will, perhaps, be told that they have a good stock of them.
I think that the pole (Layster's Pole, Yarpole, Lyepole, etc.) was a form of sighting point, lingering on to recent times as the May pole.
Every considerable avenue of trees (as in parks of country seats) which I have tested has a ley down its centre.
Monnington Walks, a Scotch Fir avenue a mile long (Plate XIII.), is sighted through Monnington Church and the Sear Rock, Brobury,
which last can be seen central in the picture. I found the ancient track still on the ley at the Scar, and alongside appeared to be an enclosed camp with defences of a mild type, such as seem to be alongside many other sighting points, as Longtown and Bridge Sollars Churches. Other avenues on leys are at Trewyn (two), where the house, central with the Scotch Fir avenue, has been proved to be on a burial mound, at Llanvihangel Court, where tradition also asserts the house (central again) to be on a burial mound; at Oakley Park, Ludlow (The Duchess Walk); and at Longworth. A feature in most of these avenues is that, as far as present roads or tracks go, they "lead to nowhere," and the discovery of the ley solves this puzzle. A striking instance can be seen from the Castle Mound at New Radnor, from which Harpton Court and Old Radnor Church are in line, and the eye looks up the centre of an avenue of trees climbing to the church. That beautiful avenue (half its beauty gone since two recent gales) with the ancient name Green Crise, which lines a public road out of Hereford, is on a ley which comes down the County College Road, over Putson Ford, and passes through Aconbury Church.
One sure sign of a ley is a long straight strip of wood marked on the map, as from Franchise-stone to Litley, and towards Breinton Church.
The word "park" had a meaning different to its present usage, but was probably connected with woodland, and certainly with leys, which pass through each of the innumerable Park Woods and Park Farms.
The Scotch Fir or Pine is the tree which seems most characteristic of a ley, for a group of them are almost always (I notice) signs of a sighting point, as at Constable's Firs, Hampstead Heath.
At the present time it is impracticable to sight from point to point (especially on water points) on account of intervening trees. It is certain that for many centuries the sighting points were used, and that trees did not then intervene. This throws a doubt on the usual glib statement that ancient Britain was one dense forest. Perhaps the increase of trees was a cause of the decay of the system.