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Discover rare and exotic trees in Calderstones Park with a new illustrated map from The Reader

4 weeks ago

Discover rare and exotic trees in Calderstones Park with a new illustrated map from The Reader
The Reader - The Mansion House photo by Ollie Gyte

A new map is casting a spotlight on the rare and exotic trees from around the world that grace one of Liverpool’s most picturesque parks and botanical gardens, Calderstones Park.

This family-friendly illustrated trail guide is the result of a collaborative effort between The Reader, a Liverpool-based charity dedicated to promoting literature and reading aloud, and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The Reader has partnered with local cultural organisations, including the Liverpool Irish Centre, Japan Society North West, Chinese Wellbeing Society, and international students from Liverpool Hope University, to develop “Making Meaning,” a two-year heritage project.

This initiative aims to illuminate the histories, hidden stories, and cultural significance of Calderstones Park’s diverse tree species.

Plants and Trees map. Credit: The Reader
Plants and Trees map. Credit: The Reader

Visitors to Calderstones Park are invited to use the new map to discover an array of exotic trees:

  • From China: Bamboo, Gingko, Handkerchief tree, Dawn Redwood, Magnolia, and Cornelian Cherry.
  • From Japan: Sugi, Cherry, and Umbrella Pine.
  • From North America: The Tulip tree, Coast Redwood, and Giant Sequoia, which hold sacred significance to indigenous American peoples.

In addition to the tree trail, the project has culminated in the publication of a new book, Around the World with the Trees of Calderstones Park. This volume brings together research findings with poetry and prose that celebrate the beauty and mystery of trees.

One of the trail’s highlights is the ancient 1,000-year-old Allerton Oak.

Allerton Oak - credit Andie Griffiths
Allerton Oak – credit Andie Griffiths

This ancient Irish oak is among the oldest trees in North West England and was crowned the Woodland Trust’s Tree of the Year in 2019, placing seventh in the European Tree of the Year 2020.

Local lore suggests that the Allerton Oak’s trunk was split by the force of an 1864 explosion on the nearby ship Lottie Sleigh, moored on the River Mersey. During the Second World War, soldiers from the area received acorns and leaves from the Allerton Oak in their Christmas cards.

The new tree trail map is available now, inviting families and nature enthusiasts to embark on a journey through Calderstones Park.

Giant Sequioa - credit Andie Griffiths
Giant Sequioa – credit Andie Griffiths

Annie Bowden, Programme and Participation manager at The Reader, said:

“This summer we are celebrating a new way to explore Calderstones Park through its plants and trees from across the world.

“Thanks to support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund The Reader has worked with cultural identity groups in Liverpool. Their knowledge and enthusiasm allowed us to unearth the hidden stories and cultures behind the trees and forage for the global stories entwined in the park’s branches.

This work has resulted in this new anthology and park map bringing alive the secret histories of trees from all over the world that call Calderstones Park their home.”

For more info on The Reader at Calderstones Park click here.

For the latest news in Liverpool click here.

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