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The Shoe Tree

The Shoe Tree - photo by Steve ColganThe infamous shoe tree is quite a local mystery.  Shoes first appeared in a tree by the A40 in the 1970s.

There have been three shoe trees near this spot – the latest one was ‘dressed’ by members of the Studley Green youth group. The young people were disheartened when the mature ash tree covered with shoes was vandalised and consequently felled for safety reasons in 1997.

Many reasons have been put forward to explain the origins of the practice of hanging shoes in trees:

  • Fertility rituals
  • A toll payment by travellers
  • Preparation for alien landings
  • To be ‘faster on your feet’
  • Or a local hoax...

A BBC camera man takes a close-up of the tree, in April 2006 By John Morris, Chiltern Woodlands ProjectRegardless of the reason why the shoe tree started, it is now a remarkable local tree which periodically attracts local, national and even international attention.

Shoes trees are found elsewhere in the country and throughout the world.

In early 2009 the lower branches of this tree were removed, together with many of the shoes which adorned them. The tree remains.

Disabled Access

If you decide to visit the Shoe Tree please park safely in Studley Green village and walk along the pavement of the A40 to the tree.


Near Stokenchurch

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