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Researchers want the help of the public to create a book and map of the city’s most notable trees.

City’s most famous trees honoured in new book and map

The history of Exeter’s most important and loved trees will be uncovered as part of a new project to record the impact of huge cedars or blossoming hilltop hawthorns on the city.

Researchers want the help of the public to create a book and map of the city’s most notable trees. They want to hear people’s “tree tales” – significant events or urban myths connected to the tree and nicknames for it.

These memories and associations will be collected during events throughout the next three months in Exeter. Members of the public who contribute will work with local artist Rose Ferraby to create the map.

The project, running throughout this summer, will be carried out in conjunction with the arts and environmental charity Common Ground and is funded by the Culture Capital Exchange.

This archive of the city’s living tree history will be collected by Dr Jos Smith, from the Department of English, and Luke Thompson of Common Ground.

Dr Smith said: “We’re not claiming to be the experts on Exeter’s trees. We want people who live here and who have memories and feelings for the city’s trees to tell us which ones matter to them, and why.

“We want people to share the way they look at particular trees, the way they think about them and appreciate them, what they mean to their everyday lives. We want to know where the best conker trees and walnut trees and plum trees are. We want to know where you can find sweet chestnuts in Exeter, or which woods or parks play host to the best bluebells or elderflowers.

“We want to know which trees are best for climbing. We want to know about trees planted to mark occasions, trees that have been fought for and protected, and trees that have been brought here from overseas.”

The Tree Mappers are offering a £50 cash prize for the best poem about an Exeter tree and a £50 cash prize for the best photograph of an Exeter tree. Both winners and three runners up of each will also be included in the book Exeter’s Tree Tales to be published by Common Ground at the end of the project.

You can send them your ‘Tree Tales’, either to or by post to ‘‘Mapping Exeter’s Tree Tales’, Flat 1, 9 College Road, Exeter, EX1 1TE’, or by calling Luke on 07957 438959.

The public can join a team of volunteer researchers meeting fortnightly at Southernhay Church on: Wednesday 8th June, Wednesday 22nd June, Wednesday 6th July, Wednesday 20th July and Wednesday 3rd August between 7.00-8.30pm. Please do email or call to let them know you’re coming: / 07957 438959.

The research team will be hosting a picnic, weather permitting, under the big horse chestnut on the Cathedral Green at Midday on Saturday July 9th 2016.

Find out more on the Common Ground website

Date: 25 May 2016

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