Can you help keep tally of our old­est trees?

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COUNTRYFILE - by Mike Ben­nett

LIT­TLE is known about the ex­act lo­ca­tion and sta­tus of vet­eran trees in Ash­ford, but it is recorded that a high pro­por­tion of the bor­ough’s an­cient wood­land is more than 400 years old and it pro­vides a vi­tal home for in­sects, birds and bats. Many of the an­cient trees in woods and parks are un­der threat from de­vel­op­ment, in­ten­sive agri­cul­ture or be­cause of safety re­stric­tions, but lit­tle real in­for­ma­tion is on record as to the ex­act lo­ca­tions of the an­cient spec­i­mens. Now that is about to change fol­low­ing a £47,900 grant from the Her­itage Lot­tery Fund to the lo­cal branch of the Bri­tish Trust for Con­ser­va­tion Vol­un­teers (BTCV). The Wye-based group is now look­ing for vol­un­teers to train to help them con­duct a com­plete sur­vey of all an­cient trees across the Ash­ford bor­ough.

Many of the an­cient trees in woods and parks are un­der threat

Any­one in­ter­ested is in­vited to at­tend the launch event in Egerton vil­lage hall from 10.30am on Sun­day, April 22, when guests speak­ers will be au­thor and dis­tin­guished pho­tog­ra­pher of the Bri­tish land­scape, Archie Miles, and Andrew Cowan an ar­bori­cul­tur­ist spe­cial­is­ing in tree ecol­ogy. Dur­ing the two-year project BTCV will also be or­gan­is­ing guided walks, talks, wood­land open days and green wood­work­ing events across the bor­ough.

Full de­tails are avail­able from Vir­ginia Hodge at BTCV Side­lands Farm, Wye, by call­ing 01233 812532.

The snow­berry plant, a hardy shrub which has spread into the coun­try­side, yields snow bomb fruits. See Na­ture Notes, be­low

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