Trees for Life

A recent Royal Society of Biology (RSB) poll for the UK’s favourite tree saw the Horse Chestnut coming out top. It beat 14 other trees. It’s thought that affection for conkers may have swayed the vote.

The result was particularly pleasing for the Civic Society. It was only last year it funded a special interpretation panel for the Verdun tree, itself a Horse Chestnut, grown from a conker taken from the last tree left standing on the Verdun battlefield of 1916. You can see both tree and panel near the entrance to the Vintry Garden in Waxhouse Gate Passage.

This poll reminds us, in St Albans, with a growing air pollution problem, of the importance of trees, both in private gardens and along our streets. Dr. Laura Bellingan of the RSB explained: ‘Trees are a valuable part of our culture and economy as well as the environment. They provide us with clean air, building materials, food and fuel, flood management; they are home to a wide range of wildlife . . . and they are beautiful.’ We would also add that they are known to enhance our sense of well being and improve mental health as well as providing cooling shade and adding to the look of our streetscape.

Take St Peter’s Street. Imagine it without those 36 London Plane Trees. Thirty three were planted back in 1999 – 2003 through the efforts of the Civic Society as part of its Tree Sponsorship Campaign in partnership with the local Council. This raised nearly £10,000. Today it would be referred to as crowdfunding coming from sponsors to create the scene you see today.

The London Planes certainly know how to do their job in our busy city centre. They not only work away removing bad air through their leaves but also through their bark. This they shed, enabling them to breathe better – and us! The County Council is now the custodian of street trees. We wonder if it appreciates what has been created and the imminent need for careful pruning and a replacement strategy. We seek assurances.

There is a special Tree Book for Remembrance organized by the Society with an optional free entry for each sponsored tree. It is an excellent way to remember a loved one, celebrate an anniversary or birthday. It is on display outside the Council Chamber. St Albans needs its trees and the trees need you.


How to become a sponsor

The Society’s Tree Sponsorship scheme has raised about £25,000 over the years. It is still alive and to find out more go to the sponsor a tree page of the Council website or telephone 01727 819363 and ask for the Tree Officer or download the Tree sponsorship application form


Upcoming Events

Our 2024 programme will run through the Spring with in person talks including a social gathering before and afterwards. Details will appear here when dates are confiremd

There are no upcoming events.

Join us

Membership is open to everyone who shares our aim to make our City attractive for residents and visitors.

The membership / financial year runs from 1st April through to 31st March but you may of course join at any time so don’t delay, join today!

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Do you know of a project that might deserve recognition in the Society’s Awards? These can be for new developments, large or small, but could be for a small extension, restored windows on a period property, or a rebuilt wall. Its not just about buildings either. Remember the Society’s Awards cover things that enhance the quality of St Albans environment or amenities and the Trevelyan Award is presented for a conservation project.

Get looking about now. Send your nominations to us Please provide a brief description and thoughts on why it should be considered.