Simone Kane: I talk to the trees. Well, now's their chance to answer back

Autumn is an appropriate moment for visitors to take a bite out of the new Talking Trees Trail, an apple orchard tour just launched by the National Trust at Cotehele in the Tamar Valley, Cornwall (nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele).





But this isn't just any old food trail – instead the latest technology is used to bring Cotehele's orchards to life, with the aim of educating us about the importance of protecting the hundreds of apple varieties grown in the UK.



Visitors can get the trees to "talk" by swiping a pen device over apple logos dotted around the 45-minute trail to trigger 15 audio clips, which have been recorded with the help of local people. Each describes different apple tree varieties, as well as allowing other orchard occupants such as bees to "talk" about their short lives as pollinators and honey-makers. There's even a traditional wassailing song and a recipe for apple crumble along the way.



"The beauty of this trail," says Chris Groves, Cotehele's orchard officer, "is that it allows people of all ages, particularly children, to learn outdoors and at their own pace."



Visitors can wander through the characterful Old Orchard, which dates from before 1731, and the Mother Orchard, which is home to 300 trees and 120 types of apple – many of them heritage varieties.



Hear the Colloggett Pippin talk in local dialect about how it makes a superb cider, or the Beauty of Bath dessert apple explain that it was first raised in Somerset in 1864.



"We hope," says Chris, "that the trail will capture the imagination of many visitors to ensure our orchards are protected for ever."



Meanwhile, other destinations are using trees creatively to tempt visitors this autumn. From 22 October to 7 November, Bedgebury National Pinetum, in Kent, will be transformed into an "Electric Forest" (theelectricforest.co.uk).



Culture Creative will illuminate the world's finest conifer collection to produce a family-friendly two kilometre trail through the trees, complete with sound, music and interactive installations.



And, with an eye on half term, Kew Gardens has teamed up with Chiswick Moran Hotel to offer the Kew Family Package (moranhotels.com). Visitors can stay a short hop from the national botanical collection, where they can make the most of the autumn colour, tree identification tours, and other child-friendly activities.



With so many arboreal opportunities, you won't be able to see the wood for the trees.



simone.freelance@mac.com

Arts and Entertainment
Supporting role: at the Supreme Court, Rhodes was accompanied by a famous friend, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch
booksPianist James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to stop the injunction of his memoirs
Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan
filmDheepan, film review
Sport
Steven Gerrard scores for Liverpool
sport
News
peopleComedian star of Ed Sullivan Show was mother to Ben Stiller
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?