WORCESTERSHIRE'S ANCIENT TREE REGISTER
Harry Green & John Tilt
This scheme was launched with the April 2002 number of Worcestershire Record. A course was run in May 2002 to encourage more people to join in recording and another (fully booked!) will be held Saturday 17th May 2003 at Lower Smite Farm.
Those who attended the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust's Volunteers Conference on 21st September 2002 received great encouragement to record ancient trees through an outstanding lecture by Ted Green and a memorable visit to Elmley Castle Deer Park. Many of us are still reeling from the experience of Ted in full flight!
Records are slowly accumulating in the data base. Very many thanks to all those who have sent in information. We do encourage you to join in and help in recording. There is a lot to do! We can easily send you copies of instructions and recording forms - the latter can be sent and returned via email if you wish. We can also work on minimum information and visit trees ourselves. Please note that we really need accurate eight-figure grid references if at all possible, please. This can be obtained quite easily from the OS Explorer (orange) 1:25000 maps or by GPS. Trying to find a tree again in a 100 m square from a six-figure grid reference is not always easy. Alternatively a photocopy of a map with a dot on it would help!
Amongst recent discoveries are a series of ancient ash trees
on the eastern end of Bredon Hill, oaks in Malvern, ancient lime
trees in several woods in west Worcestershire, and ash trees in
the Teme valley. The Wyre Forest Study Group enjoyed an excellent
day (15th February 2003) looking at old trees in that area. These
included great oaks at Ribbesford, an enormous sweet chestnut in
Bewdley, a surprising black poplar hidden in a dingle valley,
some very large maiden oaks just over the border into
Staffordshire at Birchen Park, and the stricken Mawley Oak (See
Worcestershire Record No 12 April 2002 for details). The owners
kindly allowed the Group to look closely at the Mawley Oak and
the following notes were made:
Many years ago the tree was fixed with a support hawser and rotting wood in trunk was cut out and the hollow painted with bitumen paint. This seems to have stopped further heart rot. If the tree had been left to go hollow naturally and if some weight had been taken off the tall limbs the tree may have survived and not collapsed. Collapse occurred on a calm day (29th October 2001) presumably because the strength of the trunk was not great enough to support the multiple heavy limbs. Most of the large fallen limbs still lie by the tree. For the tree to continue to survive as a large pollard some of the remaining limbs would best be shortened to take off weight and so prolong life of tree. There is a scar on one fallen limb probably from a lightening strike long ago.
A Ring count made fairly high up on a fallen cut limb about 200. Ring counts on part of the trunk and from 1 cm samples (Group activity!) estimated that the tree's age was between 400-450 years, which is similar to Brian Stephens' estimates in Worcestershire Record No12.April 2002. The tree probably started life between 1550 and 1600
Ancient ash trees near Ashton-under-Hill
on Bredon Hill.
Mawley Oak 15th
Wyre Forest Study Group meets the Mawley Oak 15th February 2003. Photo G H Green
|Small-leaved lime near Shelsley Kings. This tree has a 5.4 metres breast height circumference. Photo G H Green|
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