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30th March 2017

Working with the National Trust to protect our ancient trees

Hannah Solloway

ATF field visit with the National Trust at Borrowdale, Cumbria

Brian Muelaner, trustee of the Ancient Tree Forum and former Ancient Tree Adviser for the National Trust, writes about how the two organisations are now working together

As a tiny charity with huge ambitions the ATF has formed a number of partnerships with other organisations to help achieve its aims to:

  • Champion the conservation and management of ancient trees and their wildlife, heritage and cultural values
  • Develop and share knowledge and experience of ancient trees and awaken people to their beauty and value
  • Prevent avoidable loss of existing ancient trees
  • Secure and expand future generations of ancient trees

For over 20 years the ATF has worked with various partners in a number of ways, for example through producing joint publications with English Nature (now Natural England), and campaigning with the Woodland Trust. More recently we have sought links with like-minded organisations through the signing of Concordats in order to commit to a shared vision for ancient trees.

One of the most significant signatories has been the National Trust, due to their vast ownership of ancient and other veteran trees, their enormous membership and influence.  In June 2015 the trust’s Director General, Dame Helen Ghosh, and I, then Chair of the ATF, signed and sealed the Concordat beneath the Ankerwycke yew, the very site on which it is believed the Magna Carta was sealed.

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17th May 2016

My time at the top

by Brian Cleckner

Brian Muelaner

Brian Muelaner reflects on his six years leading the Ancient Tree Forum, in advance of stepping down as Chair at July’s summer forum, when Russell Miller will take on the role.

It’s hard to believe that it’s six years since I ‘volunteered’ to take on the role of Chair for the ATF.  I remember a conversation I had with Neville Fay shortly before becoming Chair, as if it were yesterday.  Nev had been chairing the ATF since time began, so naturally I turned to him to get some idea of what level of commitment I was letting myself in for. Nev kindly reassured me that all that it was more of a figurehead, and only involved chairing the two board meetings each year and writing the odd letter or two and the Chair’s annual report to Companies house.  And for some reason I believed him!

It turned out to involve a little more than that, but it’s been an incredible honour and privilege and one of the most fulfilling roles with which I’ve had the good fortune to be involved.  What’s been achieved over the past six years is quite mind boggling, all made possible by a massive team effort. One of the great strengths of the ATF is the enthusiasm, knowledge, skills and commitment of its extended board, the Trustees, the Co-opted members and our limited staff.

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