Worcestershire Record No. 23 November 2007 p. 22-23


By Project Officer Becky Lashley

In the April 2007 issue of Worcestershire Record Harry Green reported the exciting news that the Worcestershire Recorders had been awarded a grant of £50,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to build on the work that he and John Tilt had begun in developing a Worcestershire Register of Ancient Trees.

I have now been in post for just over four months, based at the WBRC, and the project is beginning to take off in spectacular fashion. I would like to take this chance to say that the successful start is down in no small part to the support and encouragement that continues to come from Harry, John and other members of the project steering group. Their efforts, and those of other volunteer recorders, have so far resulted in a database containing just over 1000 tree records. These are patchily distributed across the county with a focus very often on high-profile sites such as Hanbury Park or Croome. One key aim of the project was therefore to recruit and train new volunteers and support them in carrying out more systematic survey of the county on a parish-by-parish basis.

Over the last month two very successful training courses have been held, the first at Little Malvern and the second at Martley, and so far 33 new volunteers have received training and signed up to hunt down and survey the ancient trees in their local area. Records from those attending the first course are already starting to come in. Another significant step forward for the project is that several volunteers have also come forward to help with validation of existing data – re-visiting trees to take photographs, check grid references and fill in other bits of missing information. This is an extremely important endeavour and all those who are computer-literate and keen to help ‘get the project’s house in order’ are encouraged to contact either John Tilt or myself to discuss helping with this (contact details below).

Over the next few months work will take place to develop a website for the project, linked to the WBRC website, which we hope to be quite interactive with current records available for viewing. All data collected through the project will be shared with the national Ancient Tree Hunt, coordinated by The Woodland Trust, and data agreements are in the process of being drawn up. We are also liaising with the important GROW WITH WYRE project which contains within it an ancient tree recording scheme, also funded by HLF. All groups recording ancient trees in Worcestershire are working together.

Please get in touch if you have some time over the coming year to get involved in the project. Full training and support will be given and we have bits of equipment including GPS units and measuring tapes that can be lent out. To inspire all budding tree recorders and give you something to aim for, our latest addition to the database turned out to be the third biggest tree found so far in the county: an oak with a girth of 10.4m was found just outside Bromsgrove by Tree Warden Rob Deri (figure 1). Do you know of a bigger one?!

Figure 1. The third largest oak (by girth) in Worcestershie, found near Bromsgrove. The trunk is divided, reminescent of our largest oak near Great Witley.
Photo: John Tilt
The course at Martley was enlivened by the enthusiasm of those who attended (Figure 2)


If you would be interested in hearing news of the project I am sending out a short bulletin on a monthly basis (email preferred but snail mail catered for) so again please get in touch if you would like to receive this.

Becky Lashley Ancient Tree Project Officer
01905 759759     becky@wbrc.org.uk

John Tilt
01386 792458    john.tilt2@btopenworld.com


We were very pleased to be able to show the group some of the pollarded oaks recorded in Wichenford parish by Jane Field (article promised for Worcestershire Record!). Her fellow enthusiast Heather Rendall has an eye for the unusual and sees faces and other things in the knobs, burrs and scars of old trees (I know, it’s worrying!). Here are a few of her pictures. I must add that she and others are undertaking fascinating and important research in to the history of trees in Wichenford. I am sure we shall hear more of this important study.

Top Left: Bull
Top Right: One of Wichenford's pollarded oaks (Harry Green)
Left: Skull
Bottom Left: Uruk-hai
Bottom Right: Skekzic


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