Veteran Trees

What is a veteran tree?

A veteran tree is often recognisable from its size. An oak may grow up to 6m in girth, whereas a birch may only react up to 1m in circumference. Some veteran trees are instantly recognisable, whereas others are less obvious. Some may be a landmark or associated with local traditions or events. Other veteran trees may be hidden in hedgerows and may not be readily visible.

It is thought that the UK may have up to 80% of all the ancient trees in Europe, but these are rapidly disappearing. They face such threats as careless developers, industry and road building schemes.

Why are veteran trees important ?

Veteran trees are valuable for many reasons:

  • They support a rich invertebrate fauna and flora of lichens and mosses, both of general and specialist species. The nooks and crevices provide nesting sites for birds and small mammals.
  • They are living remnants of past land use and management.
  • Many veteran trees are remarkable and beautiful.
  • Veteran trees represent a gene pool which may link back to the trees of the Wildwood (the original forest which developed in Britain as the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age).


Veteran Trees

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