Our native hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). This species may live for 350 years and it's considered ancient from 225 years.
Mostly confined to the heavier clays and chalk and limestone soils of the south and south-east of England, although planted throughout the UK.
Woodland, wood pasture, parkland, hedgerows and designed landscapes.
Hornbeam may be able to live for 350 years, although 250 may be more typical on many sites.
All hornbeam will be ancient from 225 years onwards, although many will have ancient characteristics from around 175 years.
Typically a veteran hornbeam will be 150-200 years of age and a notable hornbeam may be 100-150 years old.
Hornbeam can grow up to 4.5m plus in girth.
Record all hornbeam more than 2m.
Consider recording all hornbeam with any ancient characteristics more than 1.75m.
It’s important to rely on characteristics rather than size, which is an unreliable indication of age. Most ancient hornbeam will be greater than 2.5m in girth but many hornbeam within woodland, or if historically managed as a pollard, may be no more than 2m in girth.
- 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
- A fragmented trunk
- Cultural or historic value
- A prominent position in the landscape