Shoe tree in Appledore
People have thrown around
50 pairs of shoes into the tree
A bizarre American fad of creating shoe trees has spread to
The branches of an oak tree in Park Wood have been covered by
around 50 pairs of shoes tied together by their laces, angering
parish council chairman Frances Smith.
“I think it is absolutely appalling,” she said. “It is vile.
This wood is one of the best bluebell woods in Kent.
“Shoe trees become sacred places and this will go viral all over
Kent if we don’t stop it.
“Some people may think it is fun but it is not something we want
Cllr Smith, who owns the land next to Park Wood, discovered
Appledore’s shoe tree during a walk with her family last week.
The lowest branch of the oak with shoes on is about 20ft from
the ground but some shoes are at least 40ft up.
“I was horrified and am surprised no one has mentioned it to
me,” she said. “There must be about 50 pairs of shoes there.
“There are trainers and wellingtons and it will become a health
hazard if mosquitos start to breed in the wet rubber boots in the
“This may be a fun thing to do, but this is not the place for
it. It is an urban thing, not for here.
“Someone has added a CD so it is not just shoes, it is general
The tree is in a beauty spot and under it is is a bench for
people to sit and enjoy the views over surrounding countryside.
Cllr Smith is angry at
the shoes in the tree at Appledore
Cllr Smith is concerned that if the number of shoes increase,
the weight will cause the branches to break.
She has written to Kent County Council, which owns Park Wood, in
a private capacity and plans to raise the matter at the next parish
Local county councillor Mike Hill is responsible for country
parks and visited Park Wood to see the shoe tree for himself.
“At first I thought it had been done as a work of art, but it is
a form of graffiti,” he said.
“I understand people’s concerns and we will remove the shoes
during our routine clearance of the wood once the weather allows us
to get in there. This is not something we want to encourage.”
Shoe trees are an American phenomenon and are usually at the
side of main roads.
They start by someone throwing unwanted footwear – normally
pairs of trainers – on to a branch and spread from there.
Some trees can be covered by hundreds of pairs, and people
inscribe messages on their shoes.
roadsideamerica.com has a page dedicated to shoe trees.
It highlights one, in Middlegate, Nevada, which started when a
couple threw up a pair of trainers onto a cottonwood tree during a
wedding night argument.
They later added their children’s shoes and others followed suit
until there were hundreds of pairs on the branches.
The tree was said to be the largest shoe tree in the world. It
was cut down by vandals on New Year’s Eve, 2010.
The word “shoefiti” has been used to describe throwing shoes
with the laces tied together on to overhead wires.
Again originating in America, reasons range from celebrating the
end of a school year or military posting to marking out gang
territory or indicating a drug deal.
What do you think? Join the debate below.
- Click here for more Ashford news...
- Click here for more news from across the county...