A new guide to the trees of Ravenscourt Park has been produced by the Friends group, helping those who love the 20-acre space get to know some of its most special specimens.
The Ravenscourt Park Tree Trail (pdf 8.6MB) can be joined at any of the park’s 10 entrances, with downloadable photos and descriptions of 25 of the park’s 600 trees, including several on the list of Great Trees of London.
Near the sports area is the huge Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima), which has a plaque marking the fact that it’s on the register. Originally from China, it is one of the tallest examples in Britain, producing flowers that smell of old socks!
There is also the famous ‘fat’ tree, a century-old plane which sustained a direct hit from a bomb during the Second World War, yet recovered and regrew, becoming a symbol of Hammersmith’s post-war regeneration.
The Friends group has created the trail to help visitors identify and appreciate the park’s celebrated – and overlooked – trees, some dating back to Victorian times when the park was established in what was once the grounds of a medieval estate.
“Most residents will know we’re incredibly lucky in H&F to have a wealth of green spaces like Ravenscourt Park, packed with a variety of trees,” said Cllr Wesley Harcourt, H&F Cabinet Member for Environment.
“What those residents might not know is the history, or rarity of some of the individual trees we have, like the towering Tree of Heaven. Thanks to The Friends group, this brilliant tree trail will help residents and visitors discover the wonder of Ravenscourt Park’s trees and appreciate them in a whole new light.”
Can you spot them all?
There are North American Red Oaks, Indian Bean Trees, ancient limes and chestnuts and a 100-year-old avenue of wild cherry trees. There are also more recent plantings, including a line of elms resistant to Dutch elm disease.
Annabelle May, chair of the Friends of Ravenscourt Park, said that the tree trail would help the park’s many visitors to appreciate the glorious trees all around them, especially in these COVID times when regular exercise is so valued.
“We hope that it will prove to be a year-round resource for local schools, as well as fun for families and other visitors to follow,” she said, praising trail guide sponsor Hammersmith estate agent Horton and Garton for making it happen.
“We could not have published this on our website without their help,” she said.
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