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  • Oxford, what's your story

Spring Green

Spring is my favourite season in England because of the life that bursts out before our eyes. When we were considering leaving South Africa to return to England a friend said to us, 'I would endure the bleak winters in England, just to enjoy the wonder of the spring'. Moving back has given me a greater perspective on that comment. For one thing, there are just so many different striking shades of green.


We tend to look at Oxford and see its buildings but there are many trees with great history too. This book by Sophie Huxley takes you on a tour of some of the tree stories of Oxford.


Here are three you could discover on a walk around Oxford (you might have to poke your head over a wall to see some of them)


1. The Jabberwocky Tree


’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves       Did gyre and gimble in the wabe: All mimsy were the borogoves,       And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!       The jaws that bite, the claws that catch! Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun       The frumious Bandersnatch!”


Lewis Carroll's famous poem is said to have been inspired by a tree in the Pococke Garden at Christ Church College. The tree has a girth of 9 metres. That means that if you were to put your arms around it, it would need at least 5 adults stretching out their arms and touching fingers.

2. Weeping Beech Tree, St John's College


Most of us know of the weeping willow, but at St John's College there's a weeping beech tree. I think this would be a fun place to make a den....

3. High Street Sycamore


In yesterday's blog post, I mentioned the sycamore tree which you can see in Turner's picture and still see on the High Street today. I love the fact that no-one planted this intentionally, but it's become such an important part of the landscape.

You don't have to go into Oxford to spot trees, although if you do, Sophie Huxley has produced this catalogue of different ones you could look for. But you can start outside your front door and find out what's there.


Ask an adult to download this app from the Woodland Trust. As you look at bark, leaves, flowers and fruit, you can identify what tree you are looking at.


Enjoy tree hunting. It's a lifelong pursuit that is always filled with wonder.





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All artwork  © Tim Steward. 

Other images Creative Commons.