Trees – street’s going back to the future

KENNINGTON Avenue in Bishopston once had a tree outside every house – and if residents have their way it will eventually be like that again.

The drive to restore the greenery was started by Amy Williams, who has lived in the street for five years. She was struck by a photograph from 100 years ago that showed the avenue lined with magnificent trees.

So when a tree had to be felled outside her home, Amy was quick to donate to a Bristol City Council scheme to plant a replacement.

Soon afterwards, three more old trees had to come down because of rot and a vehicular collision. Amy decided to take action by inviting others in the street’s WhatsApp group – started during the pandemic – if they would contribute towards new trees.

Donations poured in, and this winter five new trees have been supplied via the Trees for Streets  website, which is now hosting the scheme for the council.

Simeon Linstead, project director for Trees for Streets, said: “Amy knew more needed to be done, but rather than cursing the darkness, she decided to light a match.

“With about 120 houses on the street, Amy realised that they would only need a few pounds from each resident ‘…and that’s a tree!’ If people chipped in more, they would be able to transform their street entirely.

“It was so easy, we just sent a message via WhatsApp saying, ‘We’re planting trees, does anyone want to contribute?’ And everyone chipped in straight away.”

The neighbours found the tree-planting initiative has had added benefits.  It has brought their community together and has been a great way to connect their children with nature,  showing them that they can make a positive difference to the world immediately outside their front door. The children plan to get involved watering the tree over the summer months.

The community plans to plant more trees, of the same species as those that were there before,  and is considering planting trees further afield in less affluent parts of Bristol.