Ancient trees are living relics of incredible age and are not only ecologically valuable but also have an historic or archaeological value. They can help us understand how we managed the land in the past and are part of our cultural heritage.
The Wealden Ancient Tree Project was set up to record as many of the oldest trees in Wealden District as possible, and to find out about their distribution and condition. The project ran from July 2007 to December 2008.
In Buxted Park, 40 ancient, veteran or notable trees were recorded. These include the remains of the Lime Avenue that suffered damage in the storm of 1987. Other veterans are Hungarian Oak, Beech and Alder. Elsewhere, a veteran pollarded beech with a five-metre girth was recorded near the footpath running south of Nan Tucks crossroads.
If the land was grazed, or in the case of the Wealden area it was most likely wood pasture, the trees were often pollarded (cut above the level of grazing animals). Pollarded re-growth was periodically cut back probably to provide animal feed, poles or firewood. Many veteran trees show signs of coppicing or pollarding and, paradoxically, it may have been these interventions which contributed to their longevity. Regular pollarding produces a wide-girthed short tree, less prone to being blown down, difficult to fell and often unsuitable for timber.
You can visit the interactive map on the Ancient Tree Hunt website at: www.ancient-tree-hunt.org.uk to see the recorded trees in Buxted and elsewhere.
Vivienne Blandford is your local tree warden and, although the Wealden Ancient Tree project is now finished she is still keen to record ancient, veteran or notable trees still unrecorded in Buxted Parish. You can do this yourself or contact Vivienne with details of where to find the tree and she will visit and record it herself.
See Tree Preservation Orders in Buxted Parish