Shoe tree mystery defeats £265,000 investigation

Shoe tree mystery defeats £265,000 investigation

All I know is that the shoes hanging in my neighborhood mark gang territory…

“For 30 years the branches of a tree on the busy A40 have been bedecked by dozens of pairs of shoes, many hanging from their laces, tied neatly. But a four-year project, funded by the National Lottery to discover why the shoes are dangled, has borne no fruit. The shoe tree, between High Wycombe and Stokenchurch, Buckinghamshire, is currently decorated with around 50 pairs of shoes, ranging from tattered working boots to smart looking women’s slip-ons.

More than £265,000 pounds of heritage lottery funding was granted to The Chilterns Woodlands Project to help provide a definitive answer – but just rumour and legend continue to live on. Some say the shoe dangling ritual, which began in the 1970s, has pagan origins and has just continued over the years. Others believe the shoes were originally thrown up as a witchcraft ritual to put a hex on unfortunate souls. Local David Holmes, 45, said: “There are so many stories about why the shoes appear in the branches.”

(via Telegraph)


  1. Phenomenon? How do you even spell that? People have been throwing shoes up in trees since the invention of shoes, right? Perhaps I am wrong, but there is certainly no need to worry or connect this event with some underlying circuit of darkness and depravity within society. 100 miles east of Reno, Nevada, on highway 50, in the jurisdiction of a town called Middlegate, there exists a large tree, fifty feet high, entirely covered in shoes. Highway 50 is nicknemed “The Loneliest Road in America.” Though I’ve always found it rather peaceful and friendly, the fact is that at this one spot, people for decades have decided to throw their shoes into a large tree. To my knowledge, no one has ever demanded an exchange, they just wanted to add to the decor and maybe skip out on a dump fee. What happens is a wonderful tourist attraction. While driving 100 miles to no where, it may be relieving to see that enough human beings had at one time or another gathered at a specific spot to deposit leftover shoes. By doing so, their statement to the world must have been along the lines of declaring people exist where u least recognize and expect them to.

  2. Shoe Trees are common here in the States, they also find there way hanging from the common telephone wire as well, a bit of expression or a way of letting your shoes live on in a public display of art?

  3. Back in the 80s when I lived in N’ork City, the word was that people did it because it enraged yuppies…back when there were yuppies.

  4. Well it’s more interesting than the toilet paper trees I see. But I’ve always wondered about shoes I see on the expressways. What’s up with that?

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