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March 16, 2013

Gabriel Hemery

ash frontispiece early composition

Gabriel Hemery:

The authors of The New Sylva visit an amazing venerable ash tree that will feature in the book.

Originally posted on The New Sylva:

Regular readers will know that the authors have been searching for the best example of a venerable ash tree in Britain to feature in The New Sylva (read the story).

Yesterday we visited the chosen ash tree. It is growing in the ancient deer park at Moccas in Herefordshire, among dozens of other ancient oak and sweet chestnut trees. The site is owned by the Baunton Trust and managed by Natural England – please note that access is granted by permit only.

The ash tree at Moccas is an indeterminable age but certainly over 500 years old – unusually old for ash that does not have the longevity of oak or sweet chestnut. Its girth measures over 8m, and its huge bole is riddled with hollows and bulbous knolls hiding the stumps of long-lost branches. While the old crown has retrenched, a classic symptom of a veteran tree…

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