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22nd November 2017

Recording the ashscape

Hannah Solloway

Hollow ash

This veteran ash tree, with its beautiful heart-shaped form created by cambium curving round the decayed hollow, can be found towards the bottom of a chalk downland valley in North Dorset.

With its hollow trunk, deadwood in the crown, rot holes and cavities, the tree has many veteran features and is hugely valuable for its biodiversity as well as its aesthetic appeal. It supports many species of lichens and bryophytes, some of which are almost entirely dependent on veteran ash trees, due to the unique characteristics of the bark. These include the (UK) priority lichen Bacidia incompta, and the nationally scarce Bacidia delicata and Caloplaca ulcerosa. The white-rot wood decay in the trunk provides decaying woody habitat for a range of saproxylic invertebrate species.

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4th April 2017

A day in Dallington

Hannah Solloway

Coppice area at Dallington Forest

‘Woodlands are under-valued for their veteran trees’ said Jamie Simpson, in his introductory talk about the area of the Dallington Forest he manages. Forge Wood is made up of a mosaic of gill woodland (identified by its geological features of ridges and valleys with streams draining into them) with ancient and other veteran beech trees, ancient coppice and areas likely to be remnants of wood pasture.

Dallington, in East Sussex, is one of the most remote large forests in the South East of England, and it is fragmented through multiple ownership. Jamie (pictured below) has managed Forge Wood for 10 years, and had invited the ATF to see his conservation work. Management over the years has included removal of rhododendron, pollarding of some of the younger trees, management of veteran trees, maintenance of rides, and re-establishment of coppicing.

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17th November 2016

ATF autumn visit to Wimpole

Simon Damant

Wimpole

The Ancient Tree Forum held its October field meeting at the Wimpole estate in Cambridgeshire, now owned by the National Trust. Originally a small deer park (the first record is from 1302) surrounded by open fields, the Wimpole parkland has changed many times throughout its history.

Over the years, different owners employed different landscape designers and gardeners, who each left their mark on the landscape. One of the most influential was Capability Brown. The site is rich in veteran trees, and the surrounding farmland includes ancient boundary oak pollards. Another interesting aspect of the site is its saproxylic invertebrate fauna which is of exceptional richness, and includes European Red List species.

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28th October 2015

ATF field visit to the Lake District

The Ancient Tree Forum’s Autumn visit to the Lake District in early October centred on Borrowdale and Watendlath. Maurice Pankhurst, National Trust Woodland Ranger, and one of the leading ancient pollard managers in the UK, led the tour. By Hannah Solloway.

by Hannah Solloway

Oak pollard in Borrowdale

The day began by a centuries-old lapsed oak pollard near the National Trust’s Bowe Barn, now partially hidden under some Douglas Fir, and only discovered in recent years. Maurice explained that with its history of mining and intensive management, there was a high demand for wood in Borrowdale, which remains one of the most treed valleys in the Lake District. read more

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