High Shutt stands on elevated ground around a mile from the town of Cheadle in Staffordshire. It can be seen for miles around from the villages of Alton and Ipstones.
For centuries, a lone pine tree stood on the site which has been subject to many local legends.
The tree was used by local Sheriffs to hang local criminals and highwaymen. This led to the tree being known locally as the ‘hanging tree’. Whilst there is no evidence for this it was common to hang people on high spots so people could see for miles around which would act as a brutal deterrent to the local population and anyone passing through.
The Tree appeared in Robert Plant’s ‘History of Cheadle’ in 1881. It was believed this tree had special powers and generations of people would have heard stories about strange goings on up at the tree. It is in this book the Tree’s most famous story is encountered.
Should you walk around the tree twelve times, the bells of hell would sound which would summon you to your death.
The tree has been protected for decades from quarrying close by and after the original tree died a new one was replanted in March 1991. This was planted on the exact spot of the original with railings to make it easily recognisable.
I loved the mythical history of the site and the tree is certainly on a prominent hilltop which has the feel of an ancient place where many things have happened.
As the sun on the first day of spring spread through the branches casting impressive shadows in the afternoon light I feel it would be a totally different atmosphere around here once darkness had fallen