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Epping Forest District Veteran Trees Project

"The term veteran tree is one that is not capable of precise definition but encompasses trees defined by three guiding principles. Firstly, they are of interest biologically, aesthetically or culturally because of their age. Secondly, they are in the ancient stage of their life and lastly that they are old relative to others of the same species." - Helen Read, Veteran Tree Initiative 1999.

Across the Epping Forest District we are blessed with the remnants of the great forests of Essex, which now survives as Epping and Hainault Forests. Together these two areas form a collection of veteran trees of European importance. Epping Forest alone has over 50,000 veteran trees.

But veteran trees are by no means confined to the forests. The widespread practice of pollarding (the successive cutting of trees above the browsing height of deer and cattle) has left us with a legacy of many old 'worked' trees across the whole of the District. For many people these trees ignite a sense of wonder at their size, staying power and resilience.

These trees may stand beside an ancient trackway, on a village green or beside an ancient church. They may have served as a parish boundary marker or as a backdrop to a grand house in a landscaped park.

It is this background that inspired the Epping Forest District Veteran Tree Project. We are working with Tree Wardens and volunteers to help us search and record all our old trees. By recording this great tree legacy across the District and demonstrating their worth we know we can protect them better.

We are making excellent progress with trees recorded in all parishes across the district. Currently we have recorded 3812 Veteran trees, 77 ancient trees and many more of note.

The 50 Favourite Trees competition is now closed, but we would love you to nominate your own favourite trees for inclusion in our list of Landmark Trees.


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