Post by david.

I have lived in St Albans, Hertforshire for about 4 years, and in the past 21 or so months I have been privileged to live very close to an intersection of at least three very pleasant walking paths that are quite unique because they are almost entirely separated from roads and cars (this makes up for the damp, dark fridge Emma and I have rented – and strangely liked in a weird kinda way). One of those paths leads to an area called Highfield Park, which boasts ‘The Tree Trail’. We have walked, run and cycled these paths (not all at the same time!) over the course of our time here, but realised only several months ago that a pamphlet exists for the trail after we put 2 and 2 together and wondered why there were various numbers on poles dotted here and there.

With exactly one week left in the flat, we decided to do the trail in it’s entirety because we will likely not see it again unless we go out of our way to return to St Albans sometime in the future – unlikely, seeing as it is one of the most expensive places to rent a property in the UK, and we’re choosing a far more frugal lifestyle. We couldn’t have chosen a better time to do the trail, as everything is about as deeply green as green can be and offering blossoming delights for us to feast our relatively newly permaculture-trained eyes on. Without realising it, we spent 5 hours wondering around.

I am going to offer a chronological sequence of the numbered trees in pictures, so that any interested reader can get an idea of what the walk has to offer; the pamphlet has a small paragraph on each tree, but I won’t repeat the info here in case I tread on copyrighted territory.  Before I do that, let me admit that when I started jogging around St Albans years ago, I never really distinguished between types of trees. I noticed that there were different kinds of trees, but I would never have guessed then that there are so many different kinds of mostly massive trees. Of the 25 numbered items on the Tree Trail’s route map, 23 are trees, and clearly these have been chosen because they are amazing trees, but also to keep the number manageable – there are so many different kinds of trees in the fields and parks that one would need far more than an A3 pamphlet-map to identify them. Looking closely at nature really develops that sense of perspective to which our project nebulously refers.

The pamphlet, by the way, has been made available from the Highfield Trust, and you can pick up a copy from Charters Health Club in St Albans (http://www.highfieldparktrust.co.uk/index.php/tree-trail-mainmenu-105). A big thank you to the  folk at the Highfield Trust for this one.

1) Sweet Chestnut

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2) Holly

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3) Red Horse Chestnut

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4) Copper Beech

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5) London Plane

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6) Horse Chestnut

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7) Common Lime

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8) Purple Sycamore

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9) False Acacia

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10) European Larch

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11) Holm Oak

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12) Turkey Oak

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13) Deodar Cedar

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14) Indian Bean Tree

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15) Wellingtonia

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16) Dawn Redwood

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17) Swamp Cypress

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18) Village Green park circle – right tree is Wild Service Tree; left tree is a Hornbeam (I think! Note explicitly labelled; correct me if wrong please)

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19) Oak

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20) Silver Birch

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21) Hornbeam Coppice (not explicitly named, rather part of the beautiful Winchfield Wood which we have known and loved for years now. If we are wrong about this one, let us know)

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22) The Orchard

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23) Norway Spruce

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24) Blue Atlas Cedar

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25) Beech (big one on the left)

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