History

Edmund Blyth created Whipsnade Tree Cathedral in memory of fallen comrades © Whipsnade archives

Edmund Blyth created Whipsnade Tree Cathedral in memory of fallen comrades

Inspiration for a "Tree Cathedral"

The Tree Cathedral was created by Edmund Blyth. The planting was inspired by the beauty of a sunlit group of trees seen on the way home from a visit to Liverpool Anglican Cathedral. It was undertaken in the spirit of faith and hope which he had shared with his deceased war comrades.

Where to start?

In 1927 Edmund Blyth had purchased Chapel Farm in Whipsnade as his residence. The accompanying farmland included a field used for chicken runs and at the end of 1930, with the help of Albert Bransom he began planting there. The layout was planned in the style of a medieval cathedral, following a traditional cruciform pattern. Work was extended gradually as new opportunities arose, until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

Delayed by the war

On the outbreak of the Second World War, Edmund Blyth returned to his regiment. The young plantation was left untended for eight years until he returned from the military government of Berlin in 1947, to rejoin his family law firm. In the intervening years, the site had become overgrown.

Share