Britain’s Mysterious Coin-Covered Wishing Trees

Sticking hundreds of small denomination coins into tree trunks is apparently a popular way of getting rid of illnesses.

At least that’s what the staff at a holiday attraction in Gwynedd discovered after investigating the story behind several coin-covered tree trunks in the vicinity of Italianate village Portmeirion. The first tree was cut down four years ago, in order to widen the path to the picturesque settlement founded in 1925, and within only a few months it was covered with 2p coins. Now there are seven such tree trunks in the area, so estate manager Meurig Jones started an investigation to uncover the origins of this unusual habit.

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She managed to track down coin-covered trees back to the 1700s, when they were apparently used as wishing trees. People believed that a person suffering from an illness could hammer a coin into a tree trunks and the tree would take the illness away, but if someone removed the coin, they themselves would become ill. Whether some folks still believe this legend, or they do it simply because it’s fun is still a mystery, but the fact is this bizarre habit has spawned some pretty unbelievable sights that apparently unique to the UK.

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