Encounters of the Giant Kind

May and June are great months as the weather gets warmer and trees are getting leafier by the day. These months also happen to be the busiest I’ve ever been with tree and woodland surveys, but I’ve also consciously taken time out to go on a couple of very enlightening and fruitful field visits with the Ancient Tree Forum (ATF), the only organisation in the UK to focus solely on the protection of ancient and veteran trees.

I have been volunteering with the ATF for a few years now, but going on these field visits is always particularly refreshing. Every visit to a different estate or parkland is an entirely unique experience due to the encounters I make with some of the oldest trees in our landscape, as well as the immense knowledge I gain from experts within the group.

Each and every tree we’ve encountered is a living legend on its own. Below are some of Nature’s most brilliant specimens in timelessness, wisdom, age and creativity, captured on my visits to National Trust Saltram in Plymouth and Nettlecombe Court in Somerset.


This was a great day, not just for the trees, but for the discussions we had about land management, heritage and resilience of trees for the future when our climate changes rapidly. The icing on the cake was that I got to meet one of the giants of the ancient tree world, founder president of the Ancient Tree Forum Sir Edward Ernest Green – fondly known as Ted Green – as well as arboriculture experts Jill Butler (next to Ted in photo) and Caroline Davis MBE.


This fantastic historical court and park also hosts the Field Studies Council at its heart. Surrounded by a great parkland landscape of trees blending into woodland, there were many veteran giants to be found here.

Many thanks to the ATF for organising such fantastic visits. Till the next one!

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