At Moor Barton Wilding we have one veteran beech tree. Beech trees generally live around 250 years and this Grandmother is around 300 years old, a forest of her daughters and granddaughters stretching out around her.
Veteran trees play an important role in locking up carbon and as ecological habitats. It is said that one 200 year old oak tree is worth a hundred 20 year old trees. The reason for this is that hidden within a single veteran tree are a plethora of niche habitats supporting a huge diversity of species. Particular beetles, fungi and lichens all rely on specialised habitats that can only be provided by a tree of a certain age.
As carbon sinks, wildlife havens and nature’s cathedrals, it is crucial that we both take care of our existing veteran trees and identify and nurture the veteran trees of the future. At Moor Barton Wilding, our woodland management plan does just that. As well as taking care of the Grandmother beech tree, we are also identifying other potential veteran trees and halo thinning around them to let in the light to allow the trees, and thus all of the wildlife they support, to thrive. Hopefully these trees will grow on into the veteran and then ancient trees of the future.