Hugging Trees for Science … and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge!

Ahh trees! I am a big fan of trees. All trees. But especially ancient trees. I often think, “If only ancient trees could talk what fabulous tales they’d tell!”

But when I say “ancient” what do I mean? Trees, like us, grow and age at different rates depending on a variety of factors that affect them. A few years ago we took part in the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Hunt here in the UK. This project is trying to measure and map as many ancient trees as possible all over the UK. To take part we learned how to ‘hug’ our old trees to measure their likely age 🙂

We found a few very old Oak and Beech trees around our area, about 300-400 years old. As well as hugging each tree, which was fun (!) we recorded as much information about it as we could including its location, its condition – for example whether it had any broken limbs or hollows in the trunk.

We also looked to see if we could see any creatures or plants living on the trees. Ancient trees are amazingly rich habitats and as trees age the organisms that they support continues to grow – they have their own little ecosystem as well as being significant in the wider habitat.

The fattest old Oak we found was over 4.5 metres around its girth – which was a bit longer than our collective ‘hug’ at that time! But we did check our measurements with a tape measure as well as using the ‘hug’ method. The size of this tree means it is about 400 years old – this was an amazing thought and we talked about the history it had lived through.

For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week I wanted to show you tree-hugging but sadly I seem to have misplaced those images so I thought I’d share some photos of some of the wonderful old trees we’ve visited recently instead …

A beech tree we hugged, in our local woods
A beech tree near where our Bluebells grow. We hugged this tree as part of our Ancient Tree Hunt recording 🙂
Broad Oak - a wonderful oak we encountered on a Summer hike
Broad Oak – a wonderful oak we encountered on a Summer hike
Old oak in an ancient woodland that is under restoration - with stray sheep!
Old oak in an ancient woodland near us that is under restoration – with stray sheep! We often walk this way … though we don’t often see stray sheep!
A wonderful beech tree we pass on our journey into town - we stopped off at this country park while we were out this week
A wonderful beech tree we pass on our journey into town – we stopped off at this country park while we were out this week

J Peggy Taylor

Advertisements

6 thoughts on “Hugging Trees for Science … and Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge!

  1. Beautiful trees, thanks for sharing 🙂 Do you think the age of coppiced trees is reflected in the girth of the base? There are some never-been cleared copses near to us, and some of the bases are ginormous!

    1. You are welcome 🙂 You are right about the girth of coppiced trees – that is certainly an indicator of their age. Coppicing is a sign of ongoing management so there may be some local history sources that mention the wooded areas. It would be great if you could check on the Ancient Tree Hunt map and see if your trees have been mapped. This is the link to the mapping page.

  2. I also love that trees can be used for (calibrating) dating methods! And that you can tell by the rings what the conditions during growth were and even what season it was. Amazing, right? 🙂

    1. Yes, we have looked at tree rings to see the growth patterns … and trying to remember which years we had dry, or wet, summers 🙂 I remember using the height of trees to estimate their age many years ago, but this hugging method was much less mathematics and much more fun 🙂

Your thoughts and views?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s