The Tree Register Latest News
New tallest tree
A new title-holder for Britain (and northern Europe's) tallest recorded tree has just been identified by Rob Lynley, using the latest laser technology.
A plantation of Douglas Firs at Coed Craig Glanconwy, just south of Betws-y-Coed in Snowdonia, was planted by the Forestry Commission in 1921. When I first saw these trees in 2005, the best were approaching 60m in height - a height at which older American conifers in Britain have slowed right down or stopped growing taller - but they still looked full of growing.
In September 2013, the tallest measured by Rob is over 65m and most probably 65.4m to the tip of the long, slender leading shoot (very difficult to hit with the laser-beam). It grows in a dip by the Ffordd Craiglan road at SH79545570 and, barring accidents, should celebrate its first 70m around 2020!
Twenty Places to See Tall Trees
New for the Members' area: a guide to visiting Britain and Ireland's tallest and most spectacular trees, several of them recorded for the first time in 2013!
New Tree Photos
Nearly five hundred more photos of champion trees, new for 2013, are now showing in the Members' section of the website. The Cedar of Lebanon in the private grounds of Eden Hall near Penrith in Cumbria has the largest girth in England.
Huge Sweet Chestnut discovered!
New county champion Sweet Chestnut (Castanea sativa) discovered on private farmland in Cambridgeshire.
More photos and details on the Members Latest News page!
79 NEW Champion trees discovered so far in 2013
The Tree Register's Registrar Owen Johnson reports - After a succession of testing winters, it was a joy to revisit the sites of various half-hardy trees in Greater London and find them thriving - even in the bitter cold of March and early April that seemed as if it would never end. The Pindo Palm (Butia capitata) in the Chumleigh Gardens at Burgess Park has become one of my favourite trees: planted on a vandal-proof moated island within a star-shape of Islamic-style glazed tiles, it is the rare example of a tree which has performed exactly as the designer intended and now arches its vast ice-blue leaves like a frozen fountain. Its natural range extends from Argentina to the Brazilian highlands, and it finds London’s urban heat-island greatly to its taste.
Members can read more of Owen's report in our latest mini newslettter being posted out in the next couple of weeks - or seen now as a pdf on the Members page Latest News.
Image - Pindo Palm at Chumleigh Gardens, Burgess Park, London (by Owen Johnson)
Champion Trees of Bath
Bath is blessed with many fine tourist attractions and on a hill above the city is the University of Bath which has trained some very famous Olympic Champions. But Bath boasts many more champions and sadly not many people know about them. Now a group of children is about to put that right.
Under the guidance of Mark Cassidy, B&NES tree officer and members of The Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI), the children searched Bath’s Botanical Gardens to locate, identify and measure some of the city’s most significant Champion Trees.
BRLSI hosts STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) children’s hands on workshops on the 2nd Saturday of each month. The Champion Tree workshop was the second tree workshop organized in the last six months. On this occasion, children were encouraged to use maths, link it to a proficiency in map reading and then demonstrate research, observation and recording skills. The aim was to excite children with the life stories of the trees but also to use the information they collected to form the basis for a BRLSI self guided Family Trail to help visitors and citizens enjoy Bath’s considerable collection of Champion Trees.
Before they could do anything, they made simple clinometers to enable them to measure the trees accurately. Mark then clarified the characteristics of a Champion, the role of The Tree Register and the essential skills needed to identify and measure trees accurately. He also explained that a lot of generous people living in the city in the 19th century planted trees for future generations. “We are part of those future generations now. We are the first to see fully mature specimens which were brought back to Bath, as seeds from all round the world, a century and half ago. It’s thanks to those Victorians that we’ve got so many Champions today.”
So armed with practical knowledge, surveyors’ tapes, a map of the Botanical Gardens, clipboards and pencils, they stepped out into the pouring rain! They were intrepid.
Four teams of children worked in four separate areas. Each team was aided by BRLSI volunteers. Once they had located a possible Champion they set about measuring it. Mark and several ‘roving’ BRLSI members circulated the gardens ensuring that they had found what they were looking for and helping them check the accuracy of their measurements. This was the first time The Champions had been checked for eight years and the children were amazed to find that trees shrink and that some, on account of age, might have retired in grace and despite their magnificence, were no longer champions.
When the children returned to the BRLSI and dried out, the hard work began. How to devise and design the trail. What to call it and what to include. Should instructions on how to make a clinometer be part of the trail? What about their history?
The Trail will be published early in July, just in time for families to go on a summer holiday journey of discovery.
by Mark Cassidy
The great Pontfadog Oak is lost
The Pontfadog Oak was the largest Sessile Oak (Quercus petraea) in Wales (12.85m girth) and one of the oldest oak in northern Europe
Estimated to be over 1,000 years old the Pontfadog Oak fell during strong winds on the night of 18th April. Large cracks had been seen and following heavy snow falls the tree was in a vulnerable state
Read a press release by the Woodland Trust: http://www.woodlandtrust.presscentre.com/News-Releases/Wales-loses-its-oldest-oak-tree-the-Pontfadog-Oak-de3.aspx
Image supplied by Rob McBride