We’re making good progress. The maps below show state of play from September to the end of December 2014. So the postcode areas that are green contain over 30 monkeys – and a gradual darkening from yellow, through orange to red shows increasing numbers of monkeys. The map also shows that number of postcode areas where monkeys have been spotted has increased too. Although you can see by the number of white areas on the map on the right that the south is still less well represented.
I was going to start this post with my latest find in my home territory of ‘L’, and announce that we were nearly at 100 monkeys. Which we are. This is L95.
This lovely monkey sits on the edge of farmland up in Sefton, near Thornton crematorium – which is how I came to find it on a dull grey December morning. I went back to photograph it just before Christmas, and it was still dull and grey.
I was delighted that we had ‘nearly 100’ monkeys, and as I was writing this post, another one turned up! Thanks to my favourite urban beekeeper – Andrew of Postcode Honey – for spotting this in Magull:
Andrew described this as ‘in flower’ – a lovely description of the lime green cones. This is a female tree and the cones are swelling now and contain the seeds of the monkey puzzle tree, which are edible and a bit like large pine nuts. Thanks Andrew.
I’ve had plenty of contributions from others all around the UK. Lisa in York – who writes on York Stories – has just earned her ‘Agent’ status. Well done Agent Lisa! Her latest find was YO23. And remember, all the monkeys are catalogued on the interactive catalogue by postcode location AND by agent – so you can find all ‘your’ monkeys. Latest finds from keen agents are here:
Agent Sew found this news story ‘bombed by monkey’, and added another to our YO catalogue – now at 24. Well spotted Agent Sew, and exactly the sort of attention we expect from monkey hunters!
Agent Philip over on the Wirral has added a further nine monkeys to the CH catalogue, which is now at 35 – good work! This is a lovely monkey in West Kirby:
Agent Philip also sent in CW12, which is at Reaseheath College. If you recall, our previous CW monkey was at Marbury – CW11 – visited by me and Agent Gemma last year and wrote about our trip here. We were particularly impressed at Marbury by the avenues of trees – they were beech. I’ve seen similar avenues done at a larger scale at Westonbirt in lime and also Atlantic Cedar.
Agent Jeff, ever vigilant, sent me a link to a very interesting article in the Welsh Historic Gardens Trust publication all about avenues and their history – you can read it here. The first monkey puzzle avenue was planted at Bicton in 1843-4, and there’s a three minute video about that here. I also wrote about a much smaller avenue I found in West Kirby – here – some of the first monkeys in the CH catalogue. Of particular interest in the article is a reference to two avenues in Hafodunos, Conwy. A must visit I think.
Gemma’s also continuing to spot monkeys on her travels and has sent GL20 in Berry Hill, spotted whilst staying in the Forest of Dean, and a lovely baby in Tottingdon, BL2 (although I don’t think the person who planted this has really thought about the long term future of the tree, it will dwarf the house).
Back down south in SE, the very diligent Agent Millwall MPT keeps monkeys coming my way through Twitter. Her friend Victoria spotted three, as municipal planting, in Victoria Park.
Update 8 February 2015, I incorrectly attributed these three monkeys to ‘SE’, but in actual fact Victoria Park is over the river in Tower Hamlets – so these are in fact our first ‘E’ monkeys!
And a nice email from a new monkey fan – Adam – who sent me a monkey in West Sussex. And this is actually a new postcode area – RH. Nice to get a bit more representation from ‘the south’, as you can see from the map we need more hunters down there, so please do send more if you can Adam! Thanks. Adam tells me this is the largest monkey he knows of, and that it is considerably larger than the ones at Bicton in Devon.
Agent Jeff also sent me a few ‘Google’ monkeys, as he does most weeks – thanks Jeff. He found some in Dawley, near Telford, and said, ‘There must be more?’ And yes, there are more, but I hadn’t fully mapped them…. Agent Simon sent a lovely clutch last October. Our first TF monkey was spotted by an anonymous agent and sent via Agent Jeff. I assumed it was actually in Shifnal, a village to the east of Telford and reported it here. When I looked again at my notes I see it is in ‘Shifnal Road’ outside Rose Cottage, which makes it much closer to Telford in fact. Our second TF monkey was sent in by Agent Shane who has a lovely photo blog here, mostly about his native Shropshire. He described it as ‘smack bang in the middle of an industrial estate’, which it is – the post is here. When I researched the area, I found that the tree was near 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…. and so no surprise that Agent Simon had found another eight in the area which I introduced in a previous post – here. They are now all fully mapped and here is the TF area map with TF1 and TF2 in black, TF3 is just off the map in Much Wedlock, and Agent Simon’s finds are red, and the pair that Agent Jeff found in orange:
Don’t forget, keep your eyes peeled!