Tree of the Month - August

In general, the Tree Register's volunteer measurers hope to revisit each champion tree every decade or so, to keep pace with the rate at which trees outgrow one another, or blow down, or die. But inevitably there are places which have to wait much longer than this for a revisit. In the case of a long-lived species, it's a reasonable assumption that the champion tree will still be there; the 'oldest' champion on the Register has for a long time been a variant of common Yew, 'Adpressa', with very short leaves, in the garden of Hawkstone Hall in north-east Shropshire, which was the tallest known example when measured by Alan Mitchell, the co-founder of the Tree Register, in 1978.

Hawkstone Hall is now a luxury hotel, and a revisit to the gardens, 45 years on found the yew alive and well, with a height of 14.3 m and a girth, around the stoutest of several stems, of 202 cm. 'Refinding' a record tree after such a span of time is almost as exciting as finding a new champion for the first time.


Text and photo: Owen Johnson MBE VMM