The tree on the path from the wood to the graveyard is the journey each person metaphorically travels from birth to death. The greatest metamorphosis is birth (into the world) and death (the end of a person's biography and being-in-the-world). Each unfolding life is finite and temporary. What lasts is the infinitely larger realm of a world shared with people in the past and future as each generation inherits and in turn passes on their world to others. This paper is concerned with the sacred enduring symbolism of landscapes. At a time of increasing concern about environmental protection, there is a need to preserve landscapes with paths and trees for these serve as a powerful symbolic link between inner and outer nature and between past, present and future lifeworlds of individuals and communities. The symbolic meaning of the natural physical world is articulated in the realm of literature, rather than in conventional environment and behaviour research. The paper draws on English poetry and prose to illustrate the symbolic significance of the path as a metaphor for life, a search for the soul in the landscape and an act of pilgrimage, eg Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (c 1387) and Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress (1687). The paper focuses on literature of the 19th and early 20th century as a rich source of insight into the symbolic significance of paths and trees in the English landscape (eg Thomas Hardy, Richard Jeff ries, Matthew Arnold). The paper also includes quotes from Rilke and Heidegger's essay 'The Pathway'. In this respect the geography of a landscape, with a tree on a path as a focal point, acts as a symbol of inner bearings which has captured the imagination of painters, poets and writers of the 19th and 20th century. Increasingly, the poetry and prose of this period have expressed a tension between inner and outer nature. This suggests the need for an environmental ethic to guide preservation of 'the tree' and 'the path'.The landscape of 'the tree on the path from the wood to the graveyard' figures prominently in literature as archetypal symbols of life and time. Quotations from literature are used as an introduction to the landscape and place experience which is a focus of the paper. In the landscape described, the path begins at a gate on the edge of a wood. Halfway along the path is the tree with another gate and a fence dividing two fields. At the end of the path is the graveyard with a church just beyond. The tree represents the cosmic centre of the world and a point which lies halfway through a person's life. Looking back along the path from the tree towards the wood represents the past. Looking forward along the path to the graveyard is the future. The tree marks the present. The walk along the path represents the circular and linear passage of time from dawn to dusk, spring to winter, birth to death. The vista, from the gate out of the wood down the path, past the tree towards the graveyard, is the distance of a lifetime.