Nearly 1,000 years ago, the epic story of the build up to and successful invasion of Britain by William the Conqueror was captured on a length of embroidered cloth. There is much that we don’t know about this iconic piece of work, including who commissioned it. But looking closer, the Bayeux tapestry tells us much about trees.
I was recently invited to the heart of Normandy to give a presentation to the University of Paris, Summer School in Collonges about the iconography of the trees on the Bayeux tapestry.
According to Sylvette Lemagnen, one of the conservators of the tapestry,
“The Bayeux tapestry is one of the supreme achievements of the Norman Romanesque … Its survival almost intact over nine centuries is little short of miraculous … Its exceptional length, the harmony and freshness of its colours, its exquisite workmanship, and the genius of its guiding spirit combine to make it endlessly fascinating.”
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The RELEAF London Partnership will undertake a new survey of London’s trees and woodlands this summer to establish the benefits they provide and put a value on them.
It will be the world’s largest urban forest survey and 200 volunteers are needed to take part. You will be out in the field for about four days, helping to protect the Capital’s woodlands for future generations by looking at and measuring tress across Greater London.
The volunteers will receive training in the use of the US Forest Service’s i-tree methodology and be accredited as an i-Tree Eco London 2014 surveyor. If you’d like to take part, contact Jim Smith at the Forestry Commission at email@example.com
Posted in Nature, Trees, Woods
London Tree Week starts today and the main focus is the Rooting for Trees exhibition in City Hall’s cafe.
This exhibition highlights why trees matter to Londoners. Photographer Emma Phillips worked with The Tree Council to produce images of Tree Wardens at various locations where they feel most strongly connected with trees. Each portrait offers a story about the importance of one, or many, trees. It also explores what motivates different people to plant, care for and help with the conservation of trees in their neighbourhood.
There will also be a series of free guided tree walks and other nature trails in various parts of town. You can take a tree walk around Abney Park Cemetery on 25 May, Upminster (25 May), Hyde Park (26 May), Kensington Gardens (27 May), Imperial War Museum gardens (29 May), Sydenham Hill Wood (29 May), Bankside Urban Forest (30 May), Bloomsbury (31 May) and the National Gallery’s arboreal paintings.
The week is being organised as part of the Mayor’s RE:LEAF work to protect and increase the number of trees in London.
The Softrack, a new-state-of-the-art cutting machine, is helping the RSPB to give wildlife a home in Blackloftands, the largest tidal reed bed in England.
The light and agile vehicle that is able to cut reed quickly and efficiently and can easily access the wettest areas at the heart of the reedbed. This means the RSPB is able manage the site more effectively, by creating open areas across the reedbed that benefit a huge range of wildlife including rare bitterns, bearded tits and water voles.
Pete Short, Humber Reserves Manager, says: “In the past we used a tractor with hay mower to cut the reed but the weight of the vehicle meant that it sank in the wetter parts of the reserve. This meant we had to resort to using a heavy-duty strimmer called a brush cutter, which was hard physical work and pretty miserable as we used to get very wet and cold.
“With its caterpillar rollers and lightweight design, the Softrack can get anywhere in the reedbed and cut about four times as much reed as a team of three people using brush cutters. It is saving us a lot of time, money and energy.”
As well as benefitting plants and animals, the RSPB also plans to use the Softrack to harvest reed for use as a low carbon fuel. Funded by landfill tax charity WREN, the Softrack is part of Back to the Future, a five-year RSPB project that will restore wetlands to their former glory and manage them sustainably for wildlife through modern conservation techniques.
Over the past few centuries, large areas of the Humberhead Levels’ important wetlands have been lost due to drainage schemes, which have had a devastating effect on wildlife.
Enjoyed this post about Hedge Court Nature Reserve, which is close to Gatwick airport and organises informative strolls during the summer.
On the airport run collecting my brother from Gatwick. A wet day (surprise, surprise), but one which would not detract too much from a quick visit to nearby Weirwood Reservoir, a diversion I had done once before in the early-autumn. Then, I had enjoyed watching Green Sandpiper probing in the shallows, admired the extravagancies of the Mandarin drakes and glimpsed a Kingfisher from the birdhide as it sped across the water. I had seen a few Teal already gathering back then and anticipated a fair gathering of winter wildfowl to be viewed from the road and hide. This may have indeed proved the case had I actually managed to make it there. The inevitable hold-up on the drive from South Essex and the perhaps also inevitable missed turning in my search for the reservoir, left me without the time to get there and then back in time for the airport pick up.
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In an era of ever increasing concern about our nation’s physical and mental health, we strongly believe that trees and woodland can play a key role in delivering improved health & wellbeing at a local level. At the same time, the Health & Social Care Act 2012 has passed much of the responsibility for health & wellbeing to upper-tier and unitary local authorities.
Although the relationship between the natural environment and health is a complex one, it is now widely accepted that green infrastructure – such as trees, woods and forests – can help people feel better[i]. Increasing evidence shows how woodland can help encourage more active lifestyles and alleviate the symptoms of some of our most debilitating conditions such as dementia, obesity, heart disease and mental health problems.
This link between woodland and health is now firmly embedded in national Government policy for health, planning and forestry:
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