“Trees Be Company” Dorchester’s Urban Tree Festival: Revised dates, now Monday 17th – Sunday 23rd May 2021

For the second time, Dorchester is 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 runs from Monday 17th 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 inviting 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 are 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 you might be interested to see what we have 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. A description of 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…! Please let us know your own favourite place in Dorchester where you feel “Trees Be Company”.
  • Poet-Tree. Here we share some of our favourite poems about trees. We 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 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.
  • Tree Thought for the Day’. Here we share an interesting quote about how we benefit from the trees around us and will encourage you to share your favourite quotes or facts about trees.
  • Locations where new trees could be planted. We 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.
  • A ‘Sowing of Ideas. Here we share some of the ideas for more trees and hedgerows around Dorchester that are beginning to emerge – a contribution to a green recovery after the pandemic.
  • Future events. We 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 are some future tree-based events in and around Dorchester that you might like to get involved with:

  • National Hedgerow Week – Saturday 29th May to Sunday 6th June 2021, the first time it has been held in the UK.
  • Apple Day – 21st October, usually celebrated in the Heritage Orchard at Poundbury.
  • Tree Charter Day – Saturday 27th November 2021, the first day of National Tree Week.
  • National Tree Week – Saturday 27th November to Sunday 5th December 2021
  • Tree Dressing Day – usually celebrated on the first weekend in December.

More details of these events will be posted near the time – watch this space!

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