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New ancient tree hotspot

A beautifully burred sweet chestnut is one of almost 200 trees recently added to the inventory making Rendcomb Park a new ancient tree hotspot.

With a girth over seven metres the hollowing branches of this ancient pollard are now home to fungi, lichen and invertebrates.

Once part of a family estate, the sweet chestnut is now one of many gnarled trees within a deer park owned by Rendcomb College in Gloucestershire.

Wonderful treescape

Volunteer verifier Brian Jones was lucky enough to gain access to this private area in autumn last year. His visit revealed a wonderful treescape which we had little knowledge of beforehand.

With the value of better weather and longer days Brian returned to record the trees in March.Thanks to Brian’s efforts the ancient tree site, Rendcomb Park, now boasts 172 trees.

High conservation value

Discovering so many trees of special interest means Rendcomb Park is now considered to have high conservation value. According to the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) high value sites must contain at least; 15 or more ancient trees, 100 veteran trees and have at least 15 trees with a diameter of at least 1.5m at breast height (dbh), the equivalent of 4.71m girth.

With more than 50 trees with a dbh greater than 1.5m, over 20 ancient trees and 100 veterans, the site has easily exceeded the high value criteria.

The sweet chestnut is just one of many remarkable trees Brian found. Others include a 4.25m beech growing as a cuckoo tree out of the remains of a much bigger oak (see Tree No. 158544).

Rendcomb sweet chestnut Cuckoo beech in old oak