11th January 2017
Richard Parmee joined the ATF East Anglia group in December for their winter field visit to Melford Hall in Suffolk
On a somewhat damp and grey day, 40 people made their way to Melford Hall, for the chance to see some of the estate’s ancient trees. The estate’s roots can be traced back to the 13th century, though the current estate is now much smaller than before. Led by Robert Adams, the volunteer garden manager for the National Trust, the group were able to view many trees not normally accessible to the public, including one of impressive girth.
The walk started in the garden, where we saw a range of trees that, although perhaps not as visually impressive as some of the parkland trees, are old, if not ancient, by their own standards. Included were a black mulberry, gradually walking its way across the lawn, and a 200 year-old wisteria. The oldest was a formal trimmed box bush, somewhat inconspicuous from the outside, but able to fit nearly half the group inside.
The group then walked across some of the parkland, viewing relatively young oaks planted to reconstruct the park’s former avenues, before arriving at a group of eight ancient oaks. Now fenced to control access, the impact of years of grazing and occasional use by vehicles, most often during some of the annual events hosted, could be seen in some of the trees, prompting discussion on how best to help improve the soil conditions.
The largest of these trees was measured, recorded at 9.68m girth, making it one of the largest recorded trees in Suffolk. Two different approaches to calculating its age both came in either side of 600 years.
The group then set off round the outside of the current estate, taking in a veteran hawthorn and several boundary oaks, before the increasing gloom and rain forced a detour to shorten the walk. It ended back in the car park, to view a large oak showing symptoms typical of Acute Oak Decline, and highlight the importance of reporting such trees in helping to understand the condition.
5th May 2016
Sally Clark joined the ATF East Anglia group in April for their field visit, led by Ted Green, to see the tea party oak and other ancient and veteran trees at Ickworth in Suffolk.
‘The park is fine. The ground nobly broke into hill and dale, it is piled round it a deep rich soil, there are fine hanging woods and lawn.’ Duchess of Northumberland c. 1770
Ickworth was the family home of the Hervey family for some 500 years, but since 1956 it has been in the care of the National Trust, and it was thanks to Martin, Dee and Sean that the ATF was able gain an insight into how the trust are managing this vast and varied site.
27th October 2015
On an autumnal day in October the inaugural meeting of the East Anglian branch of the ATF took place at Captain’s Wood, near Sudbourne in Suffolk. The event was incredibly popular, with 54 people giving up their Saturday to spend time looking at and learning about old trees.
Captain’s Wood has a recorded treed history dating back over 1000 years and is a remnant of a medieval wood pasture that once covered many hundreds of acres. It has stunning ancient oak pollards, set amongst birch and lapsed hazel coppice, situated between the famous Staverton Thicks and the Suffolk coast.