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Ancient Tree Inventory: our 2017 highlights

2017 was a great year for the Ancient Tree Inventory. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers we now hold an amazing 170,000 records of the UK's most important trees.

Our highlights

Volunteer verifiers again worked tirelessly throughout the year. They made some impressive discoveries across a variety of sites, including the controversial HS2 rail route.

In August a group of volunteers met at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire and set a new record for the number of trees recorded in one day.

They plotted and measured 1,056 lime trees in the avenue owned by National Trust. All 1,396 lime trees that make up what’s believed to be the longest double avenue in Europe can now be seen on the ATI.

The volunteer verifiers worked hard to record the avenue at Clumber Park. (Photo: Kylie Harrison Mellor)
The volunteer verifiers worked hard to record the avenue at Clumber Park. (Photo: Kylie Harrison Mellor)
In 2017 we discovered 14,987 new trees, bringing the total number of trees to 171,206. 94% of these are verified.

Finding the most important trees

The quality of recording remained high, with 69% of trees being classified as either ancient or veteran.

Over 2,000 trees had girths greater than 4.7m, the criteria used by Natural England to identify a tree big enough to have significant environment value.

Of these trees, 601 were 6m or more in girth and of international importance.

Our favourite species

Oak is still the favourite species of tree to record, with 21% of records in 2017 being one of our native oaks.

Beech and lime were also frequently recorded. We added another 926 valuable records of ash, at a time when we can imagine many of these disappearing from our landscape in the future.

Hedgerow trees increased by 1,170 and will be a focus for recording, along with hawthorn, in 2018.

A boost from partners

We had a boost of records from some tree projects - two were especially busy. The Kent Conservation Volunteers ran the Kent Veteran Tree Project. Plus we got an update from Wokingham District Veteran Tree Association, probably the most successful local veteran tree survey project in the UK.

Target smashed in Scotland

We set some targets for Scotland and they rose to the challenge, organising some great recording events at some amazing sites.

With the help of enthusiastic volunteers they smashed the target of 1,000 trees, ending the year with 1,146.

16% of these are ancient, the result of the targeted recording of Caledonian pinewoods and the ash at Rassal Wood in the Highlands.

This also included their first recording event using a boat at Loch Arkaig. Adventure and excitement, as well as great trees (and midges)!

Some of the recorders with the Drumlanrig sycamore in Scotland (Photo: Matilda Scharsach)
Some of the recorders with the Drumlanrig sycamore in Scotland (Photo: Matilda Scharsach)

Thank you for your hard work

The inventory continues to grow and be updated by recorders and our dedicated volunteer verifiers.

A big thank you to all who have contributed in 2017. Without your help it wouldn’t be possible to promote the data to help conserve and protect our remarkable tree heritage.

There are still lots of trees to add to the inventory

Record with the Ancient Tree Inventory