Monday, July 22, 2013

Take a Tree-cation Around the UK

If you love trees and you love the UK, then why not spend this year’s holiday exploring some of the most incredible trees the Great British Isles have to offer? We've found the country’s most fabulous trees from all around Britain, so take a look at our list and enjoy a UK Tree-cation this summer!

This ‘see it to believe it’ megatree is thought to have been around since before the last ice age. Situated by the side of Scotland’s stunning Lock Fyne measures 211ft tall. But get there fast - the tree’s status as the tallest in the UK is set to be overtaken by Snowdonian firs planted back in the 1920s within the next few years.

Known appropriately as ‘Majesty’, Britain’s thickest tree is in Kent’s Fredville Park and has a circumference of 40ft. The entirely hollow pedunculated oak tree is, however, situated on a private estate, so you’ll need to ask permission to visit.

Herefordshire’s Croft Castle is home to a sessile oak which holds the record for the greatest volume of timber and measures 3,800 cubic feet, making it not only the country’s biggest tree, but also the UK’s largest living thing. Historically, Elms were often the biggest trees, but disease has wiped out much of the species. However, a felled wych elm in Staffordshire was recorded as being 16ft thick and 121ft tall, but that was back in 1636!

There are three UK trees vying for position as Britain’s oldest. All are yews and all are situated in churchyards. Each tree is thought to be more than 5000 years old and you’ll find them in Fortingall Perthshire, Llangernyw Conwy and Discoed Powys. There are many yew trees found in British churchyards and they’re believed to have played an important role in the Pagan religion. Many legends surround yew trees and many Fortngall residents believe that Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was born under the shade of their ancient oak.

Believe it or not there are several unique trees in the UK of which only one specimen exists. The Audley End Oak in Essex is widely considered to be the rarest and although several attempts have been made at planting grafts, none have been successful. The tree was planted in the late 1600s and its Latin name is Quercus audleyensis.

Greatest Span
Planted in the mid-1600s, Wiltshire’s Corsham Court is the home of the UK’s most far reaching tree. The tree, which is on a privately owned estate, spans around 210 ft, practically the size of a football pitch. The tree is so large that many of its lower branches have begun to take root. Shute House in Devin is home to the tree with the greatest unsupported crown. The tree spans 177ft, which is almost three times the size of the St Paul’s Cathedral dome.

Fastest Growing
Harcourt Arboretum in Oxford is responsible for housing the UK’s fastest-growing tree. The Silvertop belonged to the eucalypt family and grew to 66ft tall in six years, that’s around the same height as a seven storey building. Unfortunately fast growers often drop off fairly quickly, too, and the tree died in the winter of 2012.

About the Author:
Nina Slater is a green finger blogger and gardening expert at King and Co The Tree Nursery Ltd, offering the finest collection of semi mature trees and shrubs, hedging and topiary in the UK.

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