Tree or False?

Our series of Wednesday After Work Walks began with an investigation into the truth and mythology of native tree species to be found in and around London SE1. Armed with carefully adapted field notebooks, investigators set off from Emma Cons Gardens close to Waterloo on a 2 hour walk, led and facilitated by Andrew Stuck of Rethinking Cities & the Museum of Walking.

The route passed through Waterloo Millennium Green, and along the initmate Pearman Street, with its mix of street trees and unusual details added by residents – including a gilt framed Dog poo sign at dog viewing level and recycled motorcycle helmets as hanging baskets on the London Ambulance Trust building.

Once in Geraldine Mary Harnsworth Park, in the grounds of the former Bethlem Hospital, now Imperial War Musuem, investigators got to grips with many native species planted there.  The Ice Age Trail was a millennium project that planted out and identified existing native trees in the park, providing titbits of information about each species.  Investigators gathered evidence and also added to the mythology of the trees.

Discussions included dog damage, dogs as offensive weapons, the management of street trees, the provenance of the London Plane tree (an accidental hybrid discovered in the former nursery of 17th cnetury Lambeth resident John Tradescant), measuring timber and nursery rhymes.

Comments from participants included:”Tree leaf collecting book is lovely. Really enjoyed that. Really pleased to learn about trees.”; “Thanks so much – very informative and fun. Enjoyed the small group and learning something.”; and “Very interesting and enjoyable. Unusual and new information about trees, part of London, and homeless people’s park – good to find out about trees.”

There is a gallery link to some of the species that were investigated (see below) and plans to produce a Tree or False? guide of tree tours in the area.

Link to the gallery of native trees –

Three further After Work Walks are planned for July, so why not come along and join the fun?

Wednesday 13 July at 6.15pm meet at Baker Street station (by the Sherlock Holmes statue) to join Tom Bolton, Centre for Cities and author of London’s Lost rivers: Tracing the Tyburn

Wednesday 20 July at 6.15pm meet at Denmark Hill Station to join Martin Fidler, artist and sculptor, for a Ruskin Walk

Wednesday 27 July at 6.15pm meet at Vauxhall bus station (by tube entrance): Loved Up London: a discovery of London’s secret romantic places

Places are limited so register promptly to join a Wednesday After Work Walk.

This article previously appeared on the Rethinking Cities website