News release from 4 July 2018, 3:47pm
CAMBRIDGE City Council has launched a new interactive tree trail to encourage people to discover more about the trees around them.
The first of several planned trails in the city has been introduced at the popular Cherry Hinton Hall park – known for hosting the annual Cambridge Folk Festival and for being home to many interesting and unusual trees.
The tree trail is approximately 1500 metres in length and features more than 50 different trees spread throughout the park. People wishing to follow the trail simply need to visit www.chh.treetrail.co.ukthe new website which has been specially optimised for using on smartphones or tablets.
The site reveals interesting and unusual facts about each tree on the trail, such as:
- The Double Flowered White Cherry Tree, which secretes a sweet substance which attracts ants that then defend the tree against caterpillars trying to eat its foliage,
- The Dawn Redwood, a ‘living fossil’ which dates back to the Mesozoic era (65million to 248million years ago) and was believed to be extinct before being ‘rediscovered’ in China in 1941
People using the trail can also download an accompanying leaflet at www.cambridge.gov.uk/tree-trails or look at information signs along the route.
The site has been developed by Urban Green, a Manchester-based arboriculture and environmental design practice who worked with Cambridge-based Still Vision Photography to capture images of each tree in early summer.
People doing the trail are also encouraged to take their own tree photos and share them on social media. A dedicated Instagram account @camtrees has been set up to support this, while the use of the #camtrees hashtag is also encouraged.
The project aims to raise awareness of the role that urban trees can play and to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the physical and mental health benefits of spending time in nature.
The council has a tree strategy to boost and protect the estimated 240,000 trees in the city by managing existing trees, including heritage and veteran examples, and planting new trees.
Among the benefits of trees in an urban environment are:
- Providing shelter, habitats for wildlife, and a link to nature even in the most urban settings;
- Playing a role in countering some of the effects of climate change, for example by reducing the build-up of temperatures and helping to reduce the risk of flooding;
- Providing people with an enhanced sense of well-being.
Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, said: “This is a wonderful initiative which is a great way to learn more about the role trees play in our beautiful city.
“The council is committed to maintaining and increasing our urban forest, making it more resilient through continued renewal. We also want to create more ways for everyone to appreciate the trees around them more, and to access the opportunities for learning, wellbeing and recreation that trees provide.
“It would also be wonderful if visiting the trail encourages people to identify a spot in their own garden or neighbourhood where a new tree could be planted. One option is our Trees For Babies scheme, which gives the gift of a new tree to any residents who have recently had a baby. For more details on that visit www.cambridge.gov.uk/trees-for-babies-scheme.”
Scott Fitzgerald, Managing Director at Urban Green, said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Cambridge City Council to help increase people’s understanding and appreciation of the vital role that trees play in the health of our towns and cities. We hope people taking part in the tree trail will appreciate the need to both protect the trees we have and to plant more of them.”