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Important areas of Trees of Special Interest - data report

This data map shows hotspot areas of ancient and veteran tree density across the UK, using Ancient Tree Hunt data. This data was analysed in August 2011 using the Joint Nature Conservation Committee protocol for assessing veteran tree sites. At this time there were 100,000 trees in the database.

Ancient tree sites of international significance
The colour values on the map relate to the numbers of ancient, veteran or notable trees with a large diameter. The red dots represent 'high value' areas, which must contain at least 15 ancient, 100 veteran and 15 large diameter trees.

Ancient tree hotspots, UK

The sequence of valuable collections of trees follows: red > orange > yellow > green. Sites of highest value should be considered of international significance. Orange and yellow sites of national significance and green sites of landscape scale value.

The 25 top red sites, in order of data value are:

  • Bedwyn Common and Savernake Forest
  • Epping Forest
  • Bircher Common
  • Moccas Park
  • Dalkeith Oakwood
  • Brampton Bryan Park
  • Grimsthorpe Park
  • Shrubland Park
  • Boconnoc Park
  • Ickworth Park
  • Box Hill Estate
  • Hainault Forest
  • Blenheim Park
  • Stoneleigh Abbey Park
  • Lullingstone Park
  • Silwood Park
  • Mersham Hatch Park
  • Houghton Park
  • Parham Park
  • Richmond Park
  • Lochwood
  • Sherwood Forest Country Park
  • Castle Hill & Beech Wood
  • Raehills Park
  • New Forest

Adding to the data
The picture is incomplete. Some very valuable sites are not included because they have not yet been surveyed or in some cases the survey is partial. Many historic parks and historic landscapes are not included.

The Welsh-English border is very rich and recording is only in the earliest stages. Upland areas where the population is low and the areas are remote are very underrepresented. Some river valleys are showing up well but others with significant old willow pollards are still waiting to be recorded. In many places the differentiation between ancient, veteran and notable needs further refinement.

If you want to join in the process of data collection by hunting new trees or checking what is on the Ancient Tree Hunt database already you can search the ATH interactive map to find out what's been recorded in your area.

To find possible new sites, why not check out the National Heritage List on English Heritage's website, and search for Registered Parks and Gardens

For Scotland try the "Gardens" search on the Historic Scotland site

For Wales, on the Cadw map for Wales

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency website may be helpful but is less useful if you don't have a site in mind when you search.

mapping the UK's ancient
& special trees

The Ancient Tree Hunt is a living database of ancient and special trees. More than 110,000 trees have been recorded by volunteers and partners.

Highlights from the Ancient Tree Hunt database

Big Belly oak, Savernake Forest
The Big Belly oak in Savernake Forest in Wiltshire, one the most important ancient tree sites in the UK - see the latest data report on important sites.

This most ancient of oaks is also known as the Pot Belly oak or the Decanter oak. Check out its tree record for more pictures including a postcard of the tree from 1935.

View the ATH dynamic maps

Record trees on the ATH database