A walk with ancient trees
Kevin Stanley, 23/01/2023
My most loyal, and frequent companion on tree hunts is Jerry. Twice my age, he considers himself a Sancho Panza figure, the slow-moving donkey riding servant, to my more flamboyant, and swift-of-foot, Don Quixote. As we explore woodlands and historic parkland together, we discuss not only the trees, but archaeology and the history and topology of the landscape.
Many ancient and veteran trees have been felled by the axe, or chainsaw, to clear land for agriculture, or space for housing estates, now only their names remain in the nomenclature of streets and avenues, ghostly reminders of the hazel, lime and beech that once grew there forming vast swathes of woodland across the country. The finest trees that remain, standing along historic boundaries of ancient woodlands, stalwart guardians of bygone times long forgotten, whisper their stories to me, as I meander along the peaceful pathways surrounded by carpets of celandine and aconite, or the intoxicating, yet delicate scent of bluebell on the summer breeze.
As I find and record these magnificent trees, I’m grateful to be playing a small part in helping to protect them and to preserve them for prosperity."
by Kevin Stanley, Ancient Tree Volunteer Verifier