Urban Forest: Borough to Bermondsey

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Date(s) - 19/05/2019
10:30 am - 12:30 pm

London Bridge rail station


Part of London’s 2019 Urban Tree Festival, made possible with support from Trees for Cities, the only UK charity working at a national and international scale to improve lives through planting trees in cities. We are delighted to welcome Paul Wood, author of “London Street Trees” and “London is a Forest” to lead a 2 hour walkshop to Explore the Urban Forest.

Urban Forest: Borough to Bermondsey

We will trace the old borough of Bermondsey, which we can thank Ada Salter, former Bermondsey Mayor, a devotee of the ‘Tree of Heaven’ (Ailanthus altissima) for which she organised the planting around the borough.  Although Bermondsey has been absorbed in Southwark many of these trees remain and the boundaries may just be discerned through the historic planting decisions.  Ada Salter is commemorated at various points along our route, so the walkshop will be a part social history, part street tree exploration.

Our route will include visits to the Thames riverside, at Bermondsey Wall East, Bermondsey Spa Gardens and three sites where Ada Salter is commemorated.  It will follow the old Bermondsey Borough and will also provide an insight into this once industrialised area, where new housing was created for the poor and Mayor Salter’s vision for healthy neighbourhoods began to evolve.

Tree of Heaven in Haggerston – photographed on a previous walkshop by participant Tim ingram-Smith

‘Tree of Heaven’ (Ailanthus altissima) flourish in London’s micro-climate as it is resilient to air pollution.  It was brought from China in the 18th century, when ‘Chinoiserie’ was the height of fashion.  It was popular as a street tree as it could grow in smoke filled streets, offering welcome shade.  It grows for little more than 70-100 years, but some specimens from Ada Salter’s original plantings at the beginning of the 20th century still survive. Now it is very rarely planted as it is very invasive so it can often be seen sprouting from railway embankments and cracks in walls.

Ada Salter encouraged tree planting across the borough, not just at the borough’s boundary, and fortunately she did choose other varieties too.  Those with more recent plantings provide a wide variety of street trees for explorers to discover.

Meet Paul Wood by the exit closest to Platform 16 on St Thomas Street

If you wish you can purchase copies of two of his books (and collect them at the start of the walk)

  • London’s Street Trees; a Field Guide to the Urban Forest – £12:99
  • London is a Forest – £12:00
  • By both books for £22:49, saving 10%

Walk ticket prices: £8 in advance / on the day. Concession (Under 21 or & Senior Citizen – Proof of age required / Reg Unemployed /Disability): £4

When booking tickets we ask you to provide your name , email and mobile phone number – we only use your e mail to send a reminder of the event, and should last minute changes occur to an event, we can text you details on the day (if you provide your phone number).

Please print off your receipt and bring to start of the event as proof of ticket purchase

Find out about other events in the Urban Tree Festival






Bookings are closed for this event.

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