“Trees Be Company” Dorchester’s Urban Tree Festival: Saturday 15th – Sunday 23rd May 2021

For the second time, Dorchester will be taking part in the national Urban Tree Festival under the theme of “Trees Be Company”, the title of one of William Barnes’ poems. The Festival will run from Saturday 15th to Sunday 23rd May and all the events and activities will be online due the current outbreak of Coronavirus.

We hope to arrange the following activities or events each day of the Festival:
  • Tree Quiz. A daily challenge asking you to identify a tree in Dorchester from photographs of, for example, it’s flowers, leaves and bark.
  • ‘Meet the Giants’. A daily guide to one of the ‘Great Trees of Dorchester’ – great in terms of it’s size or unusual character. You will be invited to nominate your own favourite, and to let us know of any large trees in town that we might have missed.
Main Festival activities and events:
  • An A-Z of trees in Dorchester. There is no guarantee we can do this in Dorchester for all 26 letters of the alphabet but it will be interesting to see what we can come up with…!
  • My favourite tree. Let us know which tree is your favourite in Dorchester so we can share a map showing the locations of everyone’s special tree in town. And please let us know if your tree has a it’s own name, perhaps one given by you or by your family eg. The Beacon Sycamore, or the Copper Beech at Beech Court.
  • Tree Trails around Dorchester. We will describe some walks around the town where you can be in the company of some wonderful trees. We might even chalk the names of some of the trees to look out for on the pavements…! You will be invited to describe your own favourite place in Dorchester where you feel “Trees Be Company”.
  • Poet-Tree. We will share some of our favourite poems about trees over the week and will invite you to write and share your own poems on a woody theme. Perhaps you could film yourself performing your poem and share the film with others joining in the Festival..?
  • Trees for Bees‘. We will invite you to add to our map of the apple and other fruit trees around Dorchester. We hope this map will show if the bees can find a way across the town in spring by flying from one source of nectar to another.
  • Locations where new trees could be planted. We will invite you to suggest places around Dorchester where more trees could be planted to enhance the urban landscape and to provide shelter and homes for wildlife.
  • Future events. We will invite everyone to suggest other tree-based celebrations and events that we could arrange in the future, for example an Apple Day in October, a Tree Dressing Day and events during National Tree Week in November.

The title of the Festival, “Trees Be Company”, comes from one of William Barnes’ (1801-86) poems written in the Dorset dialect. The whole poem can be read here – try reading it aloud with the Dorset dialect of the time. The last verse reads:

“When dusky night do nearly hide
  The path along the hedge’s zide,
  An’ dailight’s hwomely sounds be still
  But sounds o’ water at the mill;
  Then if noo feäce we long’d to greet
    Could come to meet our lwonesome treäce
  Or if noo peäce o’ weary veet,
    However fleet, could reach its pleäce–
      However lwonesome we mid be,
    The trees would still be company.”

The Urban Tree Festival in Dorchester is hosted by Transition Town Dorchester.

Future events

Here we will list national and local events regarding trees – national events such as National Tree Week, Tree Charter Day, Tree Dressing day etc, as well as local events such as planting opportunities etc…

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