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27th January 2016

Towards a wood pasture and parkland inventory

 by Brian Muelaner

ancient ash in wood pasture at Kedleston Park

An inventory of valuable wood pastures and parkland would help us to conserve and restore this nationally important habitat and help us plan them into resilient landscapes.

As a step towards building an inventory, Natural England in partnership with the Woodland Trust and the Ancient Tree Forum have put together three datasets. The dataset commissioned by Natural England was a desktop compilation of historic parkland plus an analysis of aerial photographs available on Magic. The second is the Ancient Tree Inventory held by the Woodland Trust and now comprises over 150,000 ancient, veteran and notable trees. Finally a digitised layer of the sites known about by Ancient Tree Forum specialists.

When the three layers are put together on a GIS system a screen capture looks like this:

Wood pasture data set round Kedleston

The stronger the overlay of colours (pale pink, pink to red) the more datasets coincide. The hottest spot in this image coincides with Keddleston Park, Derbyshire. The three sets each add value; overlaying two datasets without the ancient tree data does not always identify site quality.  Where there are gaps in data the polygons need to be ground truthed for quality – not just for ancient and other veteran trees but for the quality of the rest of the habitat.

The Woodland Trust will use the current overlays in its resilient landscape focus areas especially in places like the Fowey Valley where there are acknowledged high value sites and a wider landscape rich in special trees. Wood pasture will be taken into account when Natural England revises the ancient woodland inventory.

Posted by: Jill Butler Jill Butler is an ancient tree specialist who campaigns for these majestic national treasures on behalf of the Ancient Tree Forum, and the Woodland Trust, where she is a Conservation Adviser

1 Comments | Leave a Comment

  • Vince Hastings says:
    Posted February 25, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    The best place I know, for ancient oaks, is Ashton Court’ near Bristol. The finest plane tree is here in Lydney, a true champion.


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