The National Trust’s ancient trees

Spanish sweet chestnuts, Croft Castle (Image: NTPL/Robert Morris)

The National Trust is embarking on a comprehensive survey to identify previously unrecorded ancient trees on its land. The NT’s land holdings are huge – they include more than 25,000 hectares of woodland, 200,000 hectares of farmland and 135 landscape and deer parks.As many as 40,000 trees are to be classified.

The definition of ancient depends on the species: For example, oaks in excess of 600 years are considered to be ancient, yet beech trees older than 300 years would also qualify. Such trees can be seen as remnants of Britain’s primeval forests, with a biodiversity that cannot be found anywhere else. It can take about 250 years for a tree to become a suitable host for some lichens.

Trees that are considered to be culturally important will be included in the list, e.g., including the apple tree that was said to have inspired Isaac Newton to develop the “notion of gravitation” in 1655, and a yew tree that featured in one of William Wordsworth’s poems. More recent examples are also to be listed such as trees carved by US soldiers before the D-Day landings in June 1944. BBC (plus above photo: Croft Castle’s sweet chestnuts were “seized from the Spanish Armada)

See also

  • Work begins to map ancient trees on Trust land NT
  • Isaac Newton’s apple tree, the Magna Carta tree and the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ tree will be included in a mass survey of ancient trees by the National Trust. The Independent
  • We are home to some 100,000 of the oldest trees in Europe. But is our neglect and ill-treatment in danger of killing them off?….Across the country, however, many of our estimated 100,000 ancient trees – which could represent 70% of all ancient trees in Europe (I doubt it – Nick)– are neglected or at risk of being felled. The Guardian
  • Britain’s ancient trees, including Newton’s apple tree, are in danger of dying out due to pollution, development and climate change, the National Trust has warned…The UK has some of the most famous ancient trees in the world around country houses, in historic parkland and castle grounds…. The Telegragh

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