27th October 2019
It’s becoming the norm now for all our field visits to be fully booked well before the event, but whilst organising our most northerly event in Northumberland, an area not currently covered by an ATF regional group, we didn’t know what to expect! As it was we received an incredibly warm welcome from a professionally diverse mix of individuals (and collected a long waiting list!)
6th September 2019
ATF Wessex visit to Stock Gaylard
Julian Hight, ATF Wessex chair, reports on the group’s summer visit to Stock Gaylard in Dorset.
7th May 2019
Due to a climate change induced postponement, the Spring Field Trip was re-arranged from March to 11 April 2019. While unfortunate for those who planned to attend the original event and were not able to re-arrange their diaries, those that did attend were able to experience the onset of the spring ‘greening’ in outstanding surroundings.
29th November 2018
ATF East Anglia’s Visit to Weald Country Park, Brentwood
21 July 2018
A warm sunny day greeted around 40 people at Weald Country Park, situated north-west of Brentwood, a world away from the nearby A12/M25. The walk was led by Jim Curry, a local arborist from Harlow who has worked on the park’s veteran trees and whose knowledge of the site and navigation skills proved invaluable. Before setting off Jim explained Weald was originally owned by Waltham Abbey and became a deer park in the 12th century. Part was then converted in the late 17th-early 18th century into a Capability Brown style landscape. The park was in private ownership until bought by Essex County Council in 1951 and opened as a country park a couple of years later.
5th April 2018
Blenheim Palace was the venue for the Ancient Tree Forum’s 2018 spring field visit, as Jim Mullholland, Training and Technical Officer reports.
After a brief welcome, the day began in earnest, with attendees shepherded into the back of the shoot lorry for transportation to High Park. Upon dismounting from the lorry we gathered beneath a veteran beech tree adjacent to a track. Paul Orsi, our guide for the day, introduced himself, detailing his responsibilities whilst employed by the estate. Although he has now moved on to pastures new, Paul’s knowledge of the estate and its trees was second to none, making him the perfect guide for the day.
22nd November 2017
Clare de Villanueva, Cumbria Woodlands Project Officer, and member of the ATF Cumbria group, writes about their recent visit to Brotherswater
It was a chilly, misty autumnal day, beginning with an exciting approach for me via the Kirkstone Pass. An excellent turn out made for some serious parking challenges, which were negotiated well by Ian Jack (leader of the ATF Cumbria group). The visit to Brotherswater had been inspired by Cumbria Woodlands’ ash project, which is looking in part at ancient and pollarded ash. The day was hosted by Liam Plummer of the National Trust, and we were also joined by a lichenologist and a film maker.
14th November 2017
Forester Jon Burgess, of Forestry Commission England, writes about the Piddle Oaks, which the ATF Devon group visited during their field event at Castle Neroche in Somerset last Autumn.
On top of the hill overlooking the Taunton Vale, in an landscape surrounded by ancient earthwork fortifications, hidden deep within the wood are a wonderful collection of ancient oaks. As with all things this old there remains a bit of a mystery about the history – were they on the edge of the royal hunting Forest of Neroche, or within a separate park pale that survived after the forest was broken up?
9th November 2017
David Blake, who leads ATF Wessex, writes about the group’s Autumn visit to Longleat in Wiltshire
On the morning of 20th October, a few of us were logging on to the BBC Weather web page and wondering if we were going to be lucky or not. For some months, Julian Hight, Jim McConkie, Hilary Abbott and myself had been working on a plan to bring off the third Wessex ATF event. We particularly wanted this one to have a varied audience and, if possible, a larger audience than usual. We were lucky: the weather god did us proud.
9th August 2017
Jim Mullholland joined the ATF Wessex group for a field event in June to Southwick Country Park, a site much-visited by local people, to see how the veteran trees are managed.
Nestled on the outskirts of Trowbridge, Southwick Country Park is an impressive veteran tree site which can easily be overlooked. Along the former agricultural hedgerows the veteran oak pollards are becoming lost in forests of newly planted trees.
The country park was purchased by Wiltshire Council in 1989 with a view to developing a golf course. At that time strips of trees were planted to frame fairways and develop a number of holes within the loose agricultural field framework. When plans for a golf course didn’t continue, the land was instead used to create a country park for local residents.
4th April 2017
‘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.