I’ve had blogger’s-block. No it’s not some nasty kind of constipation… I just couldn’t think of anything to write about. So, instead of just posting about complete twaddle, I’ve waited. Until now that is. I want to introduce you to my first ancient oak!
Yes, that little speck standing under the tree is me. I thought it would help to give you some sense of scale. This beautiful oak tree has become my first officially verified ancient tree in Corfe Mullen.
For some time I’ve been recording old ugly knobbly trees for the Ancient Tree Hunt project (an initiative set up by the Woodland Trust to record all the old trees in Britain). Then over the summer I was lucky enough to be trained as a verifier for the project. It sounds grand but really just means I can go around Dorset verifying other peoples recorded trees; confirming that they are what they say they are.
This was my first ancient Corfe Mullen tree and, as I’m trying to record all the flora/fauna in Corfe Mullen for my Nature Watch project, I was quite amazed when I stumbled into it. Last week I persuaded Emma Brawn from the Dorset Greenwood Tree project (another tree project concentrating on the recording of old trees in Dorset) to come and help me verify the tree.
I actually found the tree in the winter while I was out walking on the outskirts of the village (see above). Even without leaves it was an impressive sight. Boughs as big as normal tree trunks and an enormous spreading canopy. It’s actually growing on the top of a hill and I remember sitting on a fallen branch (you can see it to the left of the tree) and looking out across the countryside willing Spring to arrive!
So lets get down to facts and figures. It’s an oak. It’s a VERY big oak and ANCIENT (I’m not saying how old, but it’s bloody-old). It’s girth (measured at 1.4m above the ground) is 6.46m (21.19ft). It’s an old pollard that may once have been part of Mountain Clump (copse nearby). It’s covered in at least six different fungi (more about that after my fungi specialist has had a look at it next week), loads of lichen and numerous mosses. It’s showing signs of hollowing, dead wood in the crown and holes in the branches. It’s grid reference (in case you ever want to give it a hug) is SY97399757 (right next to a not-much-used footpath).
I’ve named it Adams Oak which is my husbands surname…. oh and mine now!