Mapping our special trees with ROOTS

Jenny Hall

Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust have recently organised some really informative and inspiring walks and talks about the use and importance of the Ancient Tree Inventory. The first was a walk in September and second, a talk on the 24th November. Both have been ‘hosted’ by YDMT and led by Vanessa Champion, who is our local Ancient and Veteran Tree Verifier for the Woodland Trust. On both occasions, Vanessa provided us with interesting information on the importance of recording these trees, what to look for and how to go about doing it.

The Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI) is run by the Woodland Trust, whose aim is to literally put our ancient, veteran and notable trees on the map. Their literature states that:

“Identifying where (these trees) are takes us one step closer to giving them the care and protection that they need. (The) records of these oldest and most characterful trees help us to identify ancient tree hot spots, monitor current threats and future losses, plan how best to conserve them in the future and much more.” (Woodland Trust/ ATI handbook.)

The ATI is now the ‘go to’ place to check if a tree is of significance. If it is, then it is more likely to be protected. This is especially important as Tree Protection Orders have become increasingly impotent and count for little when it comes to offering trees any protection from felling. Recording trees also enhances our understanding of their ecology and provision of habitat – and of our own social history.

Both events have inspired members of ROOTS to start to contribute to the Inventory on a regular basis. We have started very much as novices, but hope to learn with practise – and find that it has already enriched the way that we look at the trees around us. As Vanessa said in her talk, (it is)“like having a grown up treasure hunt for the rest of your life” – and we know that spending time with trees does us humans good too!

ROOTS members are meeting on the first Tuesday of each month from 10 – 12 to look at our local trees, to see which will go into the Inventory. We meet by the red ‘listening’ phone box near the Post Office. When the nights are lighter, we will meet in the evening instead. Please contact ROOTS on our facebook page, or email for more information.

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