Tree Dressing Fair

2pm – 5pm Sunday 7th December 2008 @ Avon Wildlife Trust’s Willsbridge Mill Education Centre

Tree Dressing is a magical mid-winter event which pays homage to and celebrates the enormous value of trees to wildlife and people. The ancient custom, recently revived, promotes our awareness of trees and their value to wildlife and us. It’s an opportunity to show them our appreciation by cheering them up with bright hangings at a time of year when they are bare of their leaves.

Trees are venerated all over the world in different forms and the custom of tree dressing takes place at different times of the year. In France on May Day trees are decked with flowers, whilst in India during winter trees are painted with vermillion and turmeric. In Scotland, trees standing beside certain wells are hung with thousands of strips of cloth and in Africa rings of palm leaves are placed around the trunks of silk cotton trees.

At this year’s Tree Dressing Fair in Bristol, the theme will focus on the value and importance of ancient trees by celebrating Willsbridge’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’, 200 year old Field Maple, a well loved veteran in the Limes Wood at Willsbridge Valley Nature Reserve. The Field Maple is in a remnant of the former Kingswood forest and now the site is part of the Forest of Avon. In honour and celebration of this majestic field maple, large scale sculptures will be created depicting giant earrings will act as jewels to be placed in the trees crown. These sculptures will be made by year 6 students from Cherry Garden Primary School.

At the event, visitors will be able to make their own sculptures for the maple – “We want to go full cycle with wood and return used wooden items back to the tree!” Visitors are invited to bring along discarded household wooden items such as egg cups, curtain rings, picture frames, rolling pins, wooden spoons and coat hangers which will be transformed and recycled into works of art!

The field maple, will be the focal point for the finale tree dressing ceremony which will begin with a lantern lit procession, then a tree hanging ceremony at the maple and finally a ‘son et lumiere’ type mill façade illumination.

Throughout the afternoon there will be workshops to make lanterns, bird feeders, natural festive decorations and wreaths. There will also be a series of in’tree’guing guided walks around the nature reserve to meet the resident tree population and hear about their folklore, uses and value to wildlife.

Admission is tree! … I mean FREE!!!!

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One Response to “Tree Dressing Fair”

  1. Bob Says:

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.

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