Leaf through new book featuring leaves

Date: Friday 15th September 2017
Alan Air and Iris Glimmerveen with the top trees book and leaflet.
Alan Air and Iris Glimmerveen with the top trees book and leaflet.

A NEW book featuring Cumbria’s top 50 trees as voted for by the public has just been published.

The ash tree at Coniston Water which so inspired Sue Bond, although she did not live to see its success in the Cumbria competition.
The ash tree at Coniston Water which so inspired Sue Bond, although she did not live to see its success in the Cumbria competition.

And its No.1 tree — a remarkable lightning-damaged ash beside Coniston Water — was this week revealed as a contender for England’s Tree of the Year.

The joint authors of Cumbria’s Top 50 Trees, journalist Alan Air and forestry expert Iris Glimmerveen, said the book was as much about people as trees.

“Behind each of our top 50 trees is a personal story; sometimes harrowing, sometimes inspirational but always engaging and revealing,” said Alan.

Iris added: “A lot of our top 50 trees are not what you would describe as perfect specimens but for the people who put them forward they are very special indeed.”

Alan, of Carlisle, said the winning tree was a deserved finalist in this year’s Woodland Trust Tree of the Year scheme. “Called the Courageous Tree by Sue Bond, an amazing woman who was inspired by the tree to fight lung cancer, it somehow survives — despite being literally cut in half vertically by a lightning strike,” he said.

“Sue admired its tenacity but sadly died before the public voted it their favourite tree this summer.”

Cumbria’s Top 50 Trees was a Heritage Lottery Fund project co-ordinated by Iris, who lives on the Nunwick Estate at Great Salkeld. She is also the author of Geltsdale’s Wood Pasture, a book that detailed this rare ancient habitat, and several scientific and tree-related papers.

“I think it’s fair to say that with Cumbria’s Top 50 Trees Alan and I succeeded in connecting people back to trees and in the process raised awareness of individual trees,” she said.

“We work incredibly well together and this book — together with a leaflet that enables people to find all 50 trees — celebrates both.”

The book and leaflet are available from tourist information centres and libraries in Cumbria.

To vote for the Courageous Tree visit the Woodland’s Trust website at www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/treeoftheyear