Keep­ing his­tory alive

Stand­ing tall for hundreds of years, an­cient trees are steeped in his­tory and have wit­nessed count­less his­toric events

BBC History Magazine - - Victoria’s Indians -

F rom the seal­ing of Magna Carta and the courtship of King Henry VIII and Anne Bo­leyn, to the form­ing of the first trade union, the trees that be­held th­ese sig­nif­i­cant mo­ments in his­tory are still stand­ing to­day. Gnarly, bent, ridged and hol­low, an­cient trees are liv­ing ar­chae­ol­ogy. There’s no set age for a tree to be con­sid­ered an­cient – fast-grow­ing birch trees may be con­sid­ered an­cient at 150 years old, while a yew tree may have to wait un­til it’s 800 years old to re­ceive the same ac­co­lade!

The UK is home to an ex­cep­tional num­ber of an­cient trees and many ar­eas of the coun­try have es­pe­cially high con­cen­tra­tions – a visit to one of th­ese might see you stepping back in time, into the rem­nants of one of the royal hunt­ing forests or me­dieval deer parks.

As well as keep­ing his­tory alive, an­cient trees are valu­able homes to an abun­dance of wildlife, plants and fungi – and at least 2,000 species of in­ver­te­brates. With­out woods and trees, none of th­ese would sur­vive.

Find out more at wood­

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