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Why ancient trees survive

Why have ancient trees survived?

The UK is of European importance for the large numbers of ancient trees that remain here. Historical factors have led to such trees surviving, while declines have occurred in other parts of Europe.

In many cases, ancient trees have survived here because they were:

  • in Royal Forests - established by the Medieval kings and inherited down the centuries by aristocratic families who recognised their landscape value
  • working trees – their wood and leaves were used as part of everyday life, so the management methods helped individual trees survive
  • on common land – many veteran pollards were owned by one person, but cut by commoners to give them a sustainable local supply of fuel, fodder and food, which aided their survival
  • considered to give parks an air of respectable antiquity – when land was enclosed to form parks, ancient trees were often incorporated into the new design
  • revered and respected - some old trees were regarded as sacred, such as yew trees in churchyards

Windsor Great Park.

Multi stemmed Ancient Tree.