I’ve previously noted the present-day votive practice of augmenting dead logs with coins. As they develop, ‘coin trees’ acquire a glistening nickel and copper armour of hammered and bent 1p, 2p, 5p and 10p pieces. Sometimes non-UK coins mark a well-travelled person or a foreign visitor to the spot. Together, they do not commemorate anything specific, but show a collective affinity and connection to place for visitors, particularly those enjoying their leisure time on walking trails.
In my earlier post, I discussed how these operate in a treeless landscape: on the Llanberis path up to Snowdon, where there is a single post just uphill from the Halfway House covered in coins. I also noted how these posts and trees accrue but also naturally exude coins as they rot and fragment away.
The same dual issue of accruing and exuding came to mind on a recent walk at Moel Famau from the south, however, I observed something new too. En route, there is a log which has amassed coins as well as graffiti too. Yet also, I noticed that the end of the tree looks as if has received a systematic attempt to hack out coins. Subsequently, new coins have been hammered into this damaged area.
I cannot be sure, but it looks like this part of the log might have contained several pounds sterling of coins might have been cut out with an axe. Is this the fate of other coin trees in the age of austerity where low denomination coins on display in a public place are a temptation for those for whom a pound or two will make a difference? Are coin trees a focus of human attack as well as natural decay?