One of the great delights of being the self-appointed administrator of Monkey Map is that rarely a week goes by with someone getting in touch with me with a photograph of a monkey puzzle tree. I get emails, texts and tweets from people who share their delight in monkey puzzle trees, and also the compelling feeling of ‘I’ve found one’ to add to the collection. Thank you everyone.
This week was no exception, and I’ve just done the latest roundup with trees from Italy, Edinburgh, London, Leeds, Wales (North and South), and the Wirral. And one tree – PL14 – from Jim in Cornwall, in Lostwithiel, who said, ‘Should be able to find you lots in Cornwall if they’ve not been done already. As far as I can tell from your website, you have very few down here.’
Indeed, Jim was right, there are only 23 trees in the catalogue in Cornwall – 10 in TR and 13 in PL. Cornwall also covers a little bit of EX (in postcode terms).
So I was delighted to receive an email from Jim the next day saying he’d been ‘busy snapping’ and has sent me a very decent clutch of monkeys, and details of his trip. As I know, monkey hunters are resourceful and dedicated individuals, and Jim has gone off on his motorbike, with his camera, to do his bit for the Monkey Map.
Jim started his journey in his home estate at Dobwalls, finding pointing a camera at someone’s tree to be a good conversation starter – even though he said that all the people who he spoke to thought he was mad. Yes, I recognise that! I’ve been openly described as ‘eccentric’ for the Monkey Map project, and my enthusiasm for it. I don’t mind! Jim’s first three trees are in Dobwalls.
Further along the A390 to East Taphouse Jim was tipped off about a tree down a road he’d never been along. A fine tree.
Jim carried on towards Polruan where he knew there was a fine, youngish tree, only a few fields away from the sea but in ‘excellent shape’.
And, as often happens once we start looking, Jim found another much older tree nearby in the grounds of Carneggan Barn.
Jim then carried on travelling roughly north along steep and windy lanes to Lanteglos Highway. Jim’s trusty steed can be seen below on the right.
Two more trees located south of Lerryn and in Lerryn.
In order to photograph PL23 Jim had to make a surreptitious trip into the garden – such are the risks taken by dedicated monkey hunters!
Jim’s final three trees are all in an area at the edge of the Lanhydrock estate near Bodmin Parkway station. Jim thinks the area is an old carriage ride from the estate to the station, and says there are some superb confer specimens there. The owners of the Lanhydrock estate, the Agar-Robartes family, were wealthy and so it’s no surprise to find mature monkey puzzle trees there. The house and grounds were gifted to The National Trust in 1953. The station was built in 1859, at the time Bodmin was the most important town in Cornwall, and there were plans to open a station in the town of Bodmin itself but that never happened. Lengthy negotiations with the owners of the estate took place for the location of Bodmin Parkway station (which was originally called Bodmin Road). Jim has been told that the result of the agreement allowing the station to be situated on the estate land is that even today every single train on the line has to stop there, even though it doesn’t really now serve anywhere as it is miles from Bodmin town.
Here’s the final three trees on the Lanhydrock estate.
So a big thanks to Jim for his enthusiasm and great photos, and for so cheerfully and immediately joining in with the Monkey Map, and adding 12 trees to PL. Good work. Keep your eyes peeled for more!
This ‘Monkey Map’ project is a personal project and the work of me, Sarah Horton. I am helped by my task of cataloguing all monkeys by keen monkey puzzle hunters who also do this in their free time. It is a work of personal passion and brings me great joy. Thank you everyone for your support.