Verifying an Ancient Tree

In the time following my last post about the Flitton Oak – ‘I Heartwood’ – a few events have happened.

Spurred on by recording the tree on the Woodland Trust’s Ancient Tree Inventory website, I decided to pursue my love for ancient and veteran trees by officially applying to be an ancient tree verifier. And yes they were happy to have me.

After a lengthy chat with project officer Tom and getting some guidance on the online data input interface, Tom suggested that the first tree I verify should be the very tree I recorded!

Of course I was excited to revisit the Flitton Oak, this time equipped with my forestry measuring tape, tablet and enthusiasm bursting out of my ears. It also helped that I had my partner Justin and my trusty forestry colleague Marcus with me, as several pairs of eyes are better than one.

We met along the road just a few metres from the access point, and ventured up the shallow bank into the copse of trees. Marcus was looking forward to seeing this giant and judging from his reaction he certainly wasn’t disappointed. Good ol’ Flitton Oak was sitting there stoically, unassumingly and looking as venerable as ever, albeit accompanied by increasingly prominent and shady young beech trees.

First we took the girth of the tree – 8.3m girth at a height of 1.2m – which was slightly challenging due to a huge burr (swelling) on the front of the tree and another one diagonally opposite at the back. We positioned the tape measure somewhere in between, which was a convincing medium. Then we noted again, the features and recorded more details like fungi, as well as checked if the tree had a TPO (Tree Preservation Order) attached to it. It did. Marcus also pointed out, which I completely agreed with, that there needs to be some pruning of the young beech trees surrounding the Flitton Oak, as it is at risk of being overshaded in the near future.

Me and Marcus inside the tree

ATI Project officer Tom has recommended the Flitton Oak to be featured as the ‘Ancient Tree of the Week’ across Woodland Trust’s social media channels, so I’m really looking forward to seeing it get some recognition!

More details of our verified tree record can be found at this link, search for Grid Reference SS7138030974 and the Tree ID is 205341:

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