Ashton’s Tree becomes the Queen’s Oak

(abridged from an article by Ken Parker of MCA for Reflections magazine)

An Oak tree commemorating the 70 year reign of Queen Elizabeth II has been planted in a new grass triangle at the junction of Smedley Street and Dimple Road.  This new landmark replaced the old stump of the ‘Ashton’s Tree’ which had rotted away and was an increasingly incongruous feature at a prominent road junction. This marked the culmination of 12 years of effort by the Civic Association and its secretary Ken Parker to get the tree replaced. The old Horse Chestnut took its name of ‘Ashton’s Tree’ from Ashton’s Bakery which had been at the junction.  The Bakery was demolished in 1968 as part of a road widening scheme. The tree continued to stand in the middle of the junction and was a much-loved feature on Matlock Bank until it became diseased. and was cut down in 2008. 

Photos courtesy of Tracey Grant

It had been intended that there would be a Completion Ceremony on site on 10
March but this had to be cancelled because of the snow.  However the local residents wanted to say thank you anyway so they organised an informal event after the snow had melted which was well attended.

To make the project happen various organisations had to collaborate, each playing a distinctive role.  Matlock Civic Association had promoted the scheme and worked on the design ideas.  These were subsequently refined by Derbyshire County Council. The work was implemented by Jackson’s Civil Engineers and local companies were used for supplying various elements of the project, including Birchover Stone (for the stone plinth) and Leander Architectural (for the plaque).  The Town Council agreed to accept a Licence for routine grass maintenance which is being carried out by local resident Ian Grant.

The oak tree was chosen because of its long life-expectancy and the associations with Matlock (the name of the town meaning ‘meeting place by the oak tree’).