Discover Woodland Trust’s Wikipedia for ancient trees

By Chris Were   |   Reporter   |
Wednesday 15th June 2022 10:28 am
@ChrsWr
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The Woodland Trust is on the lookout for information on Herefordshire’s ancient trees.

The spring weather has given residents a chance to explore the nature in their back yards. Last month the Gazette reported ways in which walkers were collating and chronicling their favourite walking routes, there’s now a similar challenge put to those with knowledge of Herefordshire’s trees.

The Woodland Trust is collating information on all ancient, veteran and notable trees from crowd-sourced knowledge.

All the data collected is publicly visible on their tree database at ati.woodlandtrust.org.uk

Anybody is able to look-up notable trees as well as add newly discovered ones, using the tree search page.

Last month the Gazette reported a local 1,500-year-old yew tree had been listed amongst 70 ancient trees which are to become part of the queen’s green canopy.

The Much Marcle yew, which can be found in Much Marcle churchyard is among 70 ancient trees and 70 ancient woodlands which make up part of the queen’s green canopy, a network of trees and woodlands dedicated to her majesty in celebration of the platinum jubilee. It’s one of around 50 gargantuan yews found in British churchyards, which is defined as a trunk more than 30 feet in circumference.

The yew has a huge hollow which is unusual to see for an ancient maiden yew. Within the hollow there are two benches and, in the past, parish notices were often nailed inside the tree, serving as a community notice board.

In July 1953 the tree was measured by the Reverend Graham Holley, who was rector from 1967 to 1994, and Sir Ernlie Kyrle Pope. At four-and-a-half feet from the ground it measured 30 feet, 1 inch. The tree was re-measured in April 2006, where it was found to be 30 feet 11 inches, measured at the same height. The parochial church council have a certificate stating that the tree is 1,500-years-old.

Ancient trees are as much a part of our heritage as stately homes, cathedrals and works of art; but they don’t get the same protection says the Woodland Trust.

Identifying where ancient trees are is one step closer to giving them the care and protection they need.

Records of these oldest and most characterful trees help the organisation to identify ancient tree hot spots, monitor current threats and future losses, as well as plan how best to conserve them in the future.

In the UK the majority of important trees are unprotected. The UK’s ancient trees have no automatic right of protection. There is no equivalent to scheduled ancient monument status, which important archaeological sites have. They can be permanently damaged and even lost to a culture of safety and tidiness. They can be removed when land uses change and they have to compete with surrounding trees against overcrowding and gradual, creeping damage.

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