Conservation group is delighted to record its 15,000th specimen
Chestnut tree near Murthly castle joins others on map for huge preservation project
A sweet chestnut tree as old as Bonnie Prince Charlie has become the 15,000th specimen recorded as part of an exhaustive preservation project.
The giant natural landmark at Murthly Castle, Perthshire, has had its vital statistics measured by a band of conservationists who are dedicated to mapping out every significant tree in Britain.
The Ancient Tree Inventory began as a lottery funded “tree hunt” 12 years ago. The first recorded in Scotland was a chestnut growing at Rosslyn Chapel.
The project works in two stages: The trees are first recorded by volunteers, then checked by specially trained verifiers.
Around 400 people have been involved since the project began.
Kylie Mellor, the Woodland Trust’s citizen science officer, said: “Ancient trees are as much a part of our heritage as stately homes, cathedrals and works of art, but they don’t get the same protection.
“Identifying where ancient trees are takes us one step closer to giving them the care and protection they need.
“So today’s recording of the 15,000th tree in Scotland is really worth celebrating – and so are the efforts of the dedicated band of tree recorders and verifiers who do this important work.”
Britain’s ancient trees have no automatic right of protection. There is no equivalent to Scheduled Ancient Monument status which significant archaeological sites have.
Statistics at Murthly Castle were recorded by volunteers Judy Dowling from St Andrews, Joan Sneddon from Largo, Noel Fojut from Berwickshire, Clair McFarlan from Dumfries and Lorna Holl from Balmaha.
The tree is estimated to be more than 300 years old, with a remarkable trunk girth of nearly 20ft.
Ms Dowling, lead verifier for Scotland, said: “It is amazing to reach this milestone, but we still have lots to do.
“We hear about new trees all the time, and I always have my eyes peeled wherever I go around the country. It takes you to some amazing places. “I have just loved being a part of this.” Welcoming the tree hunters to Castle Murthly Estate, Thomas Steuart-Fotheringham said: “We delighted that our sweet chestnut is the 15,000th tree to go on the inventory.
“The designed landscape has been a real feature at Murthly for half a millennium and continues to be highly valued.”
The map can be seen at the Woodland Trust website.
“We hear about new trees all the time and I always have my eyes peeled wherever I go around the country. JUDY DOWLING
Joan Sneddon and Judy Dowling double check the measurements of the chestnut tree, which is the 15,000th to join the Ancient Tree Inventory.