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Ancient Tree Day in Cheshire

In 2013 the Sandstone Ridge Trust ran a highly successful veteran tree training day in Tarporley, and on April 18th 2015, twenty eager volunteers met at Peckforton and Beeston Village Hall for a follow up day of identifying and recording ancient trees for the ATI.

Organised by the Sandstone Ridge Trust, the event was held in the beautiful Peckforton Hills, dominated by Peckforton Castle with its ancient oak standing guard over its gatehouse, on the public road and the dramatic ruins of Beeston Castle, owned by English Heritage. An earlier tree survey completed by the village Tree Warden highlights today the rate of loss from this landscape, with several trees not found this time round. Looking beyond the big feature trees of oak and sycamore growing along the roadsides and in fields, the volunteers headed for Bulkeley Hill, an ancient woodland owned by the National trust. Bulkeley Hill is recognised as a Cheshire county site of biological importance for its woodland and grassland habitats but not specifically for its individual trees.

In glorious spring sunshine, the group discovered its ancient Sweet chestnut coppice, some remarkable old burry contorted oaks and a number of ancient rowan, which previously they would have walked past! One of the best of these was lying on the ground, with a number of phoenix stems arising from along its hollowed, burred and fern covered trunk. With new knowledge and their eyes opened to the variety of ancient trees and the characteristics to look out for, the volunteers are hoping to search for and discover more important trees within this picturesque part of Britain. The successful day ended with two volunteers offering to become ATI verifiers for trees recorded along the Sandstone Ridge.