Active Agents

The Monkey Map is a personal project led by me, Sarah Horton, and I wanted to take the time to give thanks to some of the people who continue to support the project, and also explain what ‘Agents’ are. Now that nearly 2,500 monkey puzzle trees have been gathered into the Monkey Map, it’s a good time to celebrate the people currently gathering them. Despite me being at the front of things here, it’s no secret that I couldn’t be doing all of this on my own.

I’m also often sent images of various other monkey puzzle tree activity, like this, spotted by Guernsey Library on Twitter:

MPT in transit in Oregon on Highway 101

MPT in transit in Oregon on Highway 101

Some of the finds in the catalogue are single trees that I am sent through the site or through Twitter (I actively choose not to use Facebook), and I always credit the person who sent them. But some people are more tenacious and actively get ‘the bug’ and return regularly with many finds… some people even make special outings to look for monkey puzzle trees!

As a bit of a joke I first introduced the concept of ‘Agent’ to someone who was ‘hunting’ for monkey puzzle trees ‘in the field’, as it were. As in the way of jokes, it stuck, and so ‘Agent’ became a formal title, only awarded by me, for those ‘dedicated to the task of hunting monkey puzzle trees.’ There is no specific number of trees you need to find to be awarded ‘Agent’, and the title can only be given by me… but it’s for people who show continued commitment to the Monkey Map catalogue. The work has no pay, it can be dangerous at times, and you are expected to ‘keep your eyes peeled’, and carry a camera at all times. The reward is your entry in the Monkey Map.

There are a number of agents now, although not all of them are still active. Thanks for all your contributions, and I’d like to formally introduce the following ‘Active Agents’:

Agent A, based in north Liverpool, but often visits family in Edinburgh and regularly will text me a tree, or several.

Agent Anita, is the sister of Agent Philip who is based on the Wirral, they often go out together and she is an enthusiastic contributor, with finds in the CH area but also whilst on holiday in Cornwall, good dedication to the task! (Although holidaying is often a good time to spot monkeys out of your home patch).

Agent Baxter, welcomed recently here, in the Midlands, our newest Agent is building up numbers in CV and OX, and further afield including Norway and even The Falkland Isles!

Agent C, based in the Midlands, unlike other agents actually doesn’t like monkey puzzle trees, she has a phobia and uses the Monkey Map to help her avoid monkey puzzle trees, but has sent me several for the catalogue.

Agent Conduit, in Liverpool, is very successful at connecting people and telling them about the project, hence the name ‘conduit’.

Agent Doug, from Liverpool but now in South Wales, so has sent a good few from both locations.

Agent Dragonblaze, part of the SE London contingent, and along with Agent Millwall MPT responsible for putting SE on the map.

Agent Gemma, has relocated from Liverpool to Stroud and is always very good at keeping eyes peeled wherever she travels, and recently spotted five at Westonbirt when we visited there. Gemma is often ably assisted with her dog Sampson.


Sampson, yet to be awarded Agent status

Agent Green, yes that’s his real name, is based in London and has his own blog for all the monkey puzzle trees he has seen in person – The Monkey Puzzle Nut, here – and always sends his finds across here for inclusion in the catalogue, and uses the same postcode cataloguing system that I originate.

Agent Hoey, in Leeds and wider, although I do know it is often his children who actually do the spotting!

Agent Jane, is a photographer in Liverpool often finding monkeys up in the north of the city, and seems to get into the parts that I don’t reach!

Agent Jim, welcomed here, based in Cornwall has done some sterling work out and about on his motorbike, and is responsible for the largest catalogue which is in PL, with a whopping 330 trees. This includes two large collections of trees with 140 at Eden, and 70 at Pencarrow house, but is still a huge collection of individual finds. Jim also gets into neighbouring TR, and I am hopeful he may venture north to TA, as we don’t have any yet there.

Agent John in Fife, welcomed here, is based in, well Fife… and has made excellent contributions to the Scottish collection, as well as LA and into Cumbria.

Agent Lisa, from York who has been quiet for a while now, but has sent me a good few from cycling around York.

Agent Millwall MPT, is actually the Nelson Square MPT and proud to be known as the arboricultural equivalent of a Millwall fan! Also really good conduit as well, connecting me to all sorts of people through Twitter.

Agent Millwall with her 'foster children',

Agent Millwall MPT with ‘foster children’, Sid, Aiden and Ed (named after Millwall players)

Agent Philip, is based in the Wirral and has done a splendid job with the CH catalogue. Philip also often spots trees whilst out on his bike. He’s also often out and about in parts of neighbouring Cheshire and sends trees from WA and CW, I also recently discovered he’s from the north east and he sent a couple in NE.  He is sometimes with his sister, Agent Anita, and very often with Lindsey, who gets credited with monkey puzzle finds, but because they were often together I’ll catalogue them under Agent Philip. Philip also very diligent about finding links through Twitter as well, so thanks for that.

CH Marvin

Philip and Lindsey

Agent Ronnie, a reluctant ‘agent’! Ronnie is my partner, who was delighted recently to be introduced as a revolutionary (see his blog a sense of place about what he’s getting up to, which recently involved being part of the team who won the Turner Prize), but I felt he should be recognised as he often is the driver on my hunting expeditions and is always exceptionally patient.

Agent Sarah, erm, that’s me, originator of the Monkey Map project.

Agent Sew, is based in Derbyshire and even spent the night in a hotel with two monkey puzzle trees visible from her bedroom window.

Agent Simon, based in Shropshire and has made huge contributions in the SY catalogue, also in TF, WS and WV. He also set up the Google map layers for me and gave tech support on getting that going, so thanks Simon.

And some ‘double agents’, as in two agents, rather than double crossing agents!

Agents Edwin and Hubble, are actually dogs. Yes, it’s amazing they can use Twitter and when they see monkey puzzle trees they get their owner (mum) to stop the car and photograph them. They are very talented.

Edwin and Hubble

Edwin and Hubble

And last but not least, Agents Jones are in Liverpool, often out together cycling (seems to be quite a common activity for Agents), and report in regularly with their finds.


Thanks to you all. This list does not exclude agents who are about to join the project, although it doesn’t include agents who have done good work in the past and have now gone silent, but thank you all for your contributions. In addition to Agents there are numerous individuals who’ve contributed and continue to do so – if you would like to be considered for ‘Agent’ status please do ask!

This project is about growing the Monkey Map, thank you everyone for your dedication and help to the project.


One thought on “Active Agents

  1. I am nearly 50 and my first memories were of a monkey puzzle tree that i could see from my bedroom window.It terrified me,and i knew every tree within a 50 mile radius of CLEE HILL!

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