Stalking the Hardy Ash

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Date(s) - 29/05/2015
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Kentish Town rail & tube station




Photo credit: Peter Coles

150 years ago, poet and novelist Thomas Hardy while working as an architect’s technician was in charge of the excavation of the graveyard in Old St Pancras churchyard, arranging for the removal of gravestones so that work could continue on the London & Midland railway. The gravestones were leant up against an ash tree.  Over time, the tree roots have enmeshed the gravestones, creating an extraordinary feature.

And here begins our journey with a photography walkshop to explore other unusual trees in the vicinity and seek out significant trees that Thomas Hardy himself would have seen. This walkshop will include some amazing discoveries and uncover some revealing facts surrounding our trees.

We are delighted to be working with Peter Coles (Visiting Fellow and tutor at Goldsmiths and specialising in urban nature) in delivering this participatory walkshop.

We are delighted to announce that we have special contributors to the walkshop:

Helen Lange, Chair of the Thomas Hardy Society:

A lifelong lover of Hardy and a former teacher of English, Helen Lange moved to Dorset for her last post in education, in 1995 and joined the Hardy Society soon afterwards.  She became Chairperson last August. The Thomas Hardy Society was founded in 1968 to promote the works of Hardy ‘in every part of the World.’  Thus it is an international society and is for anyone, academics and general readers, who is interested in Hardy’s writing, life and times.

James Borrell, from the Ash Genome Project at Queen Mary University of London

James Borrell is a NERC funded PhD student at Queen Mary University of London, working with Dr Richard Buggs. James is particularly interested in studying the conservation genetics of forest tree species, with a focus on Betula species in the UK. Find out more here.

It is estimated that about 20 per cent of London is covered in trees.  The Mayor has a target to increase tree cover by a further 5 per cent, to 25 percent, by 2025………Welcome to London Tree Week where you get the opportunity to celebrate the importance and wonder of the capital’s trees.

You will be able to see how participants’ interpret the walkshop as they Stalk the Hardy Ash

Demand has been so great that we are now offering an additional date on which this walkshop will run.

On each occasion this event will start at Kentish Town rail & tube station and end at Old St Pancras Churchyard (approximately at 2 hours later).

Suitable for Adults / Families – accompanied children only (participants to bring their own camera).

We will be confirming your place the day before and offering it to a waiting list if we cannot obtain confirmation.

These events are generously supported by the MAYOR OF LONDON and forms part of London Tree Week 2015

Stalking Trees? When we first met Peter Coles he told us that when he had been trying to photograph the magnolia tree in the gardens at Kenwood House, it had taken him several weeks to get the shot.  Now we thought that was pretty extraordinary as we didn’t imagine you had to creep up on it…so we asked why on earth it took him so long to ‘stalk a tree’ – and that’s where the idea came from for our  series of Stalking Tree walkshops, in which we walk, talk about trees and discuss how to photograph them…

This is what Peter recollects: “It did take several weeks to find the exact right time to photograph the tree when the flowers were just in bloom. And I got it when a thunderstorm was about to break, with my favourite lighting of a black sky and brilliant sunshine. But yes, creeping up on the trees is what landscape photography can be about.  But how often do we get the chance to keep coming back to a subject, or stay there for hours or days till the light’s right?

Walking in step with:

Peter Coles