National Trust Announces Survey of Spectacular Tree Avenues
Released on: August 22, 2011, 3:01 am
National Trust has announced a three year survey that will
reveal the full extent, condition and stories behind the spectacular
tree avenues cared for by the conservation charity.
There are an estimated 500 tree avenues on National Trust land stretching hundreds
of miles which were historically planted to frame a particular view and are also now
an important habitat for fungi, beetles, bats and lichens and forming natural
wildlife corridors in the countryside.
The survey is the first of its kind in the world and as a result the Trust, as the
largest individual owner of tree avenues in the world, will be better able to
prioritise funding for their care as well as bringing together for the first time
all of the fascinating stories behind the wealth of avenues.
Brian Muelaner, National Trust Ancient Tree Advisor, said: "Tree avenues are the
perfect example of man and nature working in harmony. This new survey will give us
the opportunity to understand more about these spectacular natural monuments which
are rooted in the history of the places they appear.
"Historic tree avenues were great vanity projects for many wealthy landowners and
there are some fantastic stories behind those in our care, so it's especially
important that we capture all of this information in order to keep telling these
stories for generations to come.
"Many of our tree avenues are under threat from different diseases so this survey
will pinpoint where the issues are and help us decide how we can address them. We
have an extensive tree safety management programme which assesses the risk of
individual trees but avenues as a whole are not currently taken into
With more than 25,000 hectares of woodland, 200,000 hectares of farmland and 135 landscape and deer parks in National Trust
care, more than 20,000 individual trees, equivalent to the size of 500 football
pitches, are expected to be surveyed over the duration of the project.
Notable examples of tree avenues at Trust places include the Spanish Chestnuts at
Croft Castle in Herefordshire, planted using the seeds from the Spanish Armada
wrecks in 1592; the 731 trees in the Beech Avenue of the Kingston Lacy Estate in
Dorset, which were an extravagant gift from Dorset aristocrat William John Bankes to
his mother Frances and the Lime Tree Avenue at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire. This
is the longest such avenue in Europe with 1,296 trees (2 miles) planted in a double
row on each side by the 4th Duke of Newcastle.
Brian Muelaner added: "A tree avenue is a natural picture frame and there is
nothing quite like walking along one as a magnificent building or spectacular
landscape comes into view and the image is captured in your mind's eye."
Two years ago the National Trust launched a project to survey all the ancient trees
in its care. Almost half of the Trust's properties have staff trained in surveying
and 20,000 trees have so far been recorded.
The work of the Ancient Tree Advisor and the survey of tree avenues on National
Trust land has been made possible with the support of Cadbury.
Notes to editors:
The National Trust is the largest non-governmental landowner in the UK, owning
approximately 250,000 hectares (660,000 acres) of land across England, Wales and
The National Trust manages hundreds of woods covering 25,000 hectares (61,776 acres)
in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including both some of the oldest woodland
in the UK and, in some places, commercial conifer plantations which were established
only during the twentieth century.
The National Trust is one of the most important nature conservation charities in
Europe, offering a number of places to visit in the UK, including days out in Dorset.
Assistant Press Officer
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