CG-bwWhere are your favourite trees in Exeter? Which ones would you like to see put on a heritage map of the city? The huge cedars of St Leonards? Or the blossoming hilltop hawthorns of Ludwell Valley Park? The University of Exeter is working with the arts and environmental charity Common Ground to create a book and map of the city’s most notable trees. And they want to hear from you.

We’re not claiming to be the experts on Exeter’s trees. We want people who live here and who have memories and feelings for the city’s trees to tell us which ones matter to them, and why. For three months this summer we’ll be collecting people’s ‘Tree Tales’ and building an archive of the city’s living tree history. A ‘Tree Tale’ might be whatever you can find out about a place name or a significant event related to a tree. It might be the story behind a local family nickname for a tree, a bit of folklore or urban myth, a striking memory, or a regular way in which favourite trees mark the changing of the seasons. We’re interested in what people know already, and in what a little investigation can find out.

We want to know where the best conker trees and walnut trees and plum trees are. We want to know where you can find sweet chestnuts in Exeter, or which woods or parks play host to the best bluebells or elderflowers. We want to know which trees are best for climbing. We want to know about trees planted to mark occasions, trees that have been fought for and protected, and trees that have been brought here from overseas. Your ‘Tree Tale’ could put your tree on the map and be published in our book of Exeter’s Tree Tales.

Finding out a history about a local tree can change the way you look at it forever and can make you wonder what other memories, histories and associations other people might have. As naturalist Richard Mabey writes, ‘what you take for granted might be a revelation to your neighbour.’ Find out more on the project website:


Join our team of Tree Mappers or help us tell the story of Exeter’s city’s trees.

We will be publishing a collection of Exeter’s Tree Tales, so please do send us your ‘Tree Tales’ by email to Luke Thompson ( )or by post to ‘Mapping Exeter’s Tree Tales’, Flat 1, 9 College Road, Exeter, EX1 1TE,’ or by calling Luke on 07957 438959.

If you’d like to be a Tree Mapper and get involved then come along to the fortnightly meetings the Garden Room at Southernhay Church next to the Council Offices on: Wednesday 8th June; Wednesday 22nd June; Wednesday 6th July; Wednesday 20th July; and Wednesday 3rd August between 7.00-8.30pm. The team will be discussing how best to get everyone’s ‘Tree Tale’ represented and working with local artist Rose Ferraby on planning the map itself. Please email Luke ( )if you would like to come along. Or come along and join the team for a picnic under the big horse chestnut on the Cathedral Green at Midday on Saturday 9th July 2016 (weather permitting!).


The Tree Mappers are also offering a £50 cash prize for the best poem about an Exeter tree and a £50 cash prize for the best photograph of an Exeter tree. The competitions will be judged by acclaimed author and radio producer Tim Dee. Both winners and three runners up of each will also be included in the book Exeter’s Tree Tales to be published by Common Ground at the end of the project. See the website for details:


This project is funded by the Culture Capital Exchange.