Field maple

Our only native (excluding Ireland) maple (Acer campestre). They can live for around 400 years.

Ancient field maple. (Photo: David Alderman)

Veteran field maple. (Photo: David Alderman)

Notable field maple. (Photo: David Alderman)


Throughout the UK and frequent on chalk and limestone soils.

Typical location

Hedgerows, parkland, fields, woodland and wood pasture.


Field maple may be able to live for 400 years, although 250 may be more typical on many sites.

All field maple will be ancient from 225 years onwards, although many will have ancient characteristics from around 175 years.

Typically a veteran field maple will be 100-200 years of age and a notable field maple may be 75-125 years old.


Field maple can grow up to 4m plus in girth.

Record all field maple more than 1.5m.

Consider recording all field maple with any ancient characteristics more than 1.25m.

It’s important to rely on characteristics rather than size, which is an unreliable indication of age.

Most ancient field maple will be greater than 2.5m in girth but many within woodland, or if historically managed as a pollard, may be no more than 1.25m in girth.

This ancient field maple in Burghley House, Cambridgeshire clearly shows ancient characteristics such as a hollowing trunk. (Photo: Kylie Harrison Mellor)

Ancient characteristics

  • Major trunk cavities or progressive hollowing
  • Decay holes
  • Physical damage to trunk
  • Bark loss
  • Large quantities of dead wood in the canopy
  • Crevices in the bark, under branches or on the root plate, sheltered from direct rainfall
  • Fungal fruiting bodies (from heart rotting species)
  • A high number of interdependent wildlife species
  • Epiphytic plants

In addition the tree may have:

  • A pollard form or show indications of past management
  • Cultural or historic value
  • A prominent position in the landscape

Look for major crevices or evidence of hollowing. (Photo: Kylie Harrison Mellor)

There may be evidence of past management. (Photo: Rory Francis/WTML)

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