In spite of the limitations of lockdown, community groups and local people in Faversham, Kent, worked together to bring a self-guided tree trail to residents through unique handmade signage
Tree trails are a fantastic way to encourage people to notice and learn more about the trees in their local green spaces. For National Tree Week 2020, local tree collective Faversham Trees worked with Tree Wardens and both Swale Borough Council and Faversham Town Council to celebrate the trees in Faversham Recreation Ground (Rec) through a special tree trail.
Faversham’s very own Tree Week
In 2019, local resident Griselda Mussett set up a Faversham Trees group through Facebook, and organised the first Faversham Tree Week in alignment with National Tree Week. A year on, in spite of the challenges, Griselda and the Faversham Trees collective managed to pull together a programme of National Tree Week events on Zoom, with help from Tree Warden David Carey and many others. Faversham Town Council supported the initiative by giving away 1000 tree whips to any residents with the space to plant them. The week was a great success and highlighted how many local people want to learn more about trees. All the talks that took place during Faversham Tree Week 2020 are still available to watch/listen to on YouTube.
A living and leafy Victorian legacy
While COVID-19 restrictions prevented a planned community ‘walk and talk’ event from taking place as part of the Faversham Tree Week, seventeen unique handmade signs were created and placed along main paths of Faversham Recreation Ground so that local people could enjoy a self-guided tour of some of the fabulous trees that gladden the Rec space year-round.
Faversham Rec was planted in Victorian times with 63 different tree species, of which two have been recorded by Swale Borough Council and Faversham Tree Wardens as “champion trees”. However often users of local green spaces aren’t fully aware of the rich diversity of the trees around them, and may not have the knowledge of different tree species.
The tree trail signage was created by Ben Simon, activities coordinator at Swale Borough Council and installed by Lewis Monger, Park Ranger at Faversham Rec. Councillor Chris Williams was also particularly supportive of the group’s activities to bring trees to life for local residents.
Lewis said of the initiative, “it is nice to point out that which is otherwise taken for granted. Many people look at these as ‘just trees’. It’s good to highlight their specifics and individuality and allow people to become familiar with them and their names and habits.” We completely agree, Lewis!
Helping residents take notice of their hard-working local trees
The tree trail was left up for ten days over National and Faversham Tree Week Festival and will be reused in springtime as the trees leaf out. The organisers have hopes to include more information in the future on the economic and environmental benefits that trees bring, especially in urban settings. Hopefully, National Tree Week 2021 will see community events resume so even more people can enjoy the hard work of local tree groups including the Tree Wardens, and learn more about their local trees.
Thank you to Fern Alder, Griselda Mussett, David Carey, Swale Borough Council’s Ben Simon, Park Ranger Lewis Monger and the other Tree Warden and Faversham Trees volunteers who worked together to make this project happen.