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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog begun in 2012 about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.

I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps.

Around 2018 I tried a new way of writing my family's and my own UK travel adventures. Britain is a brilliant place for a staycation, mini-break and day trips. It's also a fantastic place to explore so I've begun to write up reports of places that are easy to reach by public transport. And when they are not that easy to reach I'll offer some tips on how to get there.

See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Where do you go to admire trees?

This blog is about family travel around the world without leaving the UK. Impossible? No. This post looks at some very special trees you can vote for in the European Tree of the Year. But the best trees are the ones we see from our homes, schools and offices or pass when we are out and about (hence the choice of pix). Words from Nicola Baird (see www.nicolabaird.com for more info about my books and blogs).

NB#1: Poplar in a London Park - when it's in leaf they rustle
together as if making conversation.
This week - from 21-28 February 2015 you can vote for European Tree of the Year - using this link http://www.treeoftheyear.org/Uvod.aspx. Looking at the photos on that link you can enjoy the lonely tree in Powys, Wales; the 150-year-old oak tree in the middle of a football pitch in Estonia and the UK's Major Oak - believed to have been used by Robin Hood and a gorgeous Scots Pine in Scotland.

NB#2: My cycle route into central London always takes me past this wonderful fig tree
on Amwell Street, Islington.
With the exception of the Irish entrance - a baby Cedar of Lebanon that's just 15 years old - and the Italian's predictable, but particularly ancient olive, the entrants are all tree species that are easy to see in the UK.

Tree ID is a tricky skill, but perhaps it could become your party trick?

NB#3: My family's favourite oak on Hampstead Heath
ideal for picnics, climbing, games & quiet thought.
Do you know how to recognise an oak, a horse chestnut, sweet chestnut, sycamore, black poplar or a plane tree? If so you can travel the world of trees easily in the UK taking in:

  • Estonia (oak)
  • Belgium (horse chestnut)
  • France (sweet chestnut)
  • Hungary (sycamore)
  • Spain (black poplar)
  • Bulgaria (plane tree)

NB#4: Silver birch liven up a city winter sunset.
The big venerables may be reasonably easy, but I find street tree ID tricky because the sort of lollipop-sized tree that survives pollarding and city pavements aren't the species that you'll find if you go down to the woods today. With one exception - the silver birch (see photo above).

NB#5: Crows nesting in an ash tree at the back of suburban garden, London.
Ash is my favourite tree to ID - you just cannot get it wrong, look for a horseshoe shaped black tip. Photo by Hedera Vetch.
Hope this post inspires you to vote via the Woodland Trust site here - or just to take a few minutes to admire at least one of the trees you pass this week. Maybe you'll end up creating your own top five trees too?

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