A celebration of Sheffield’s magnificent street trees

Sheffield’s first street tree festival will be held on 29 September, 2018 in Nether Edge.

It will be a joyful and thought-provoking celebration of the city’s beautiful street trees.

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Morning activities, including walks, birdwatching and painting, will take place on the streets. In the afternoon, we move to the magical Merlin Theatre in Meadow Bank Road for a fascinating programme of expert discussions, book readings, music, poetry, yoga and more!

The festival will conclude with the presentation of the first schools’ copies of The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, purchased through a crowdfunding campaign fronted by Vernon Oak, a 150-year-old oak  threatened with felling under Sheffield City Council’s Streets Ahead programme (full details of the crowdfunder here).

This session will also include the performance and launch of ‘Heartwood’, a new spell-song by Robert Macfarlane written especially for Sheffield – a charm against harm for all trees everywhere threatened with unjust felling.

The full programme is here.

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Vernon Oak

The festival was inspired by a New Year’s Day tweet to Vernon Oak from Peter Fiennes, author of Oak and Ash and Thorn, who suggested that Sheffielders fighting to save their trees from the chainsaw should celebrate their importance with a festival.

It seemed a very good idea, and was particularly appealing in the middle of a freezing winter, measured out in early morning look-out duties under our trees.

Anyone who’s been involved in the campaign to save Sheffield’s street trees over the past few years knows how hard it’s been and how the day-to-day stresses have had an effect on the physical and mental well-being of campaigners.

In spite of this, some very positive things have emerged from it all: strong friendships; an outpouring of creativity and the formation of active, highly committed networks of residents.

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Sheffield residents brave the elements at one of the popular street tree art sessions run by STARTS

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Centenary event to mark the importance of the First World War memorial trees in the Crookesmoor area

It’s resulted in an increased awareness of the green assets of our city, combined with a fierce desire to value and protect them.

Better than that, we’re not alone and people all over the country and worldwide have taken an interest in what’s happening. We have the support of experts and national organisations like the Woodland Trust.

The Street Tree Festival is an opportunity to celebrate all those positives and bring in people from outside the city who have followed the story and want to support the campaign.

If you would like to help, or be involved in the festival, please get in touch via the form on the contact page.

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Tree yoga, junction of Ryle Road S7

The team organising the festival are: Joanna Dobson, Margaret Peart and Susan Unwin.

We are very grateful to the Woodland Trust for financial assistance with the festival, and to Sarah and Keith Deakin for all their hard work fundraising.

For more information about the campaign to save Sheffield’s street trees, see the Sheffield Tree Action Groups website, here.