I am delighted to be reporting from another area of Britain which is being eagerly hunted by Agent Shane – Shropshire. We started sightings in this area with a secret agent’s sighting near Shifnal. So although this is in Shropshire, it falls into the postcode area of Telford, and is TF1 – you can see that here.
Our first SY tree is in Minsterley, sent to us by Agent Shane, who runs his own lovely blog all about his native Shropshire. Shane describes himself as ‘a native of the Shropshire Hills – the biggest little hills you’ve possibly never heard of’, and posts beautiful images of Shropshire on his website – here.
Shane sent us the tree at Minsterley – SY1 – with the lovely information that the lane next to it is known locally as ‘Monkey Lane’. SY2 was then identified by Agent Jeff at nearby Pulverbatch. And Shane has been busy at work and has four more trees for our SY and TF catalogues. Good work!
As you can see here, the Shropshire county area is much smaller than the SY postcode area, and TF postcodes are also in Shropshire.
First is TF2, this is at Halesfield on an industrial estate south of Telford.
As Agent Shane said to me when he sent this, this is interesting ‘as it’s smack bang in the middle of an industrial estate’. So – obviously this tree pre-dates the industrial estate, and has survived. The area of Halesfield is actually the site of a colliery, Kemberton Pit. The whole of this area was significant in the Industrial Revolution.
In nearby Madeley the ‘Madeley Tree Trail’ informs me that:
The landscape of modern Madeley has been greatly shaped by the mining and iron making industries. By the 15th and 16th centuries rich deposits of iron ore and limestone were found in the area. This led to the cutting down of most of the original forest.
The rich variety of trees in the area are the result of a number of factors. Some of the more exotic species are survivors from the extensive gardens of ironmasters and mine owners. Others are the result of natural recolonisation of old mine waste heaps. The large number of Scots Pines on the waste heaps are the legacy of the depression. Unemployed men were paid a few shillings a day to plant tree seedlings on the pit banks. It stabilised them and provided timber for the mining industry.
So, this monkey – TF2 – was probably in the garden of a wealthy mine owner, and has survived. The Madeley Tree Trail also lists a monkey puzzle tree in Madeley itself, off Park Road.
Agent Shane’s next find is TF3, in Much Wenlock. A lovely tree.
You can get a sense of the size of this tree by looking at the bench next to it. It’s a monster. Its grid reference is SJ 62476 00450, in a field by Station Road, just north of the town next to William Brookes School. Agent Shane tells me it’s in great company, as it shares a field with the oak tree planted by Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics.
Back in the SY catalogue we have this very rural monkey…. in an unnamed road near Westbury, SY3.
And our final monkey from this hunting expedition, a Shrewsbury town monkey
Agent Shane’s finds bring our monkey catalogue numbers up to four in SY and three in TF – so seven in Shropshire. And our total catalogue is now at 204 for UK monkeys, and 207 including our international finds.
Good work everyone!