Category Archives: Trees & shrubs

A pheonix tree

In a hidden corner of Bransdale in the North York Moors, there is a quite remarkable tree. A multi-stemmed, partially collapsed Small-leaved Lime (Tilia cordata).


According to a biological survey carried out by the National Trust, it’s very unlikely to have been planted here and so, is of particular significance.


  • The species is found in places which have had a long ecological continuity such as ancient woods, old hedgebanks and on crags and cliffs.
  • It is mainly a southern species, a relict from warmer times.
  • It reaches the northern limit of its British range in Yorkshire and the Lake District, so this tree is one of the most northerly native specimens!
  • It is generally only capable of natural regeneration by vegetative means; it is therefore unable to colonise new sites.
  • However, the tree having now regenerated by layering (due to a recent collapse of the original tree) means a new generation of small-leaved lime have been created.


A new hedge at Roseberry Topping

In October last year I was successful in a grant application to the North York Moors National Park as part of their Traditional Boundary Scheme.

The application focussed on planting a new hedge, following a 700 metre stretch of the National Trust’s boundary at Roseberry Topping.

With over 4,200 trees to plant, the task was no small undertaking. At the start of January, with help from National Trust volunteer John, we started on the first section, quickly getting to grips with the hedge planting routine yet barely scratching the surface of what needed to be done.

The first section of hedge after being measured out in 1 metre sections


And the planting begins…

We needed some extra hands!

I called on the help of a range of volunteers from different organisations to help us complete the hedge.

Some facts and figures:

  • 29 different volunteers helped plant the hedge, with time given from the North York Moors HOBS group, a Ordnance Survey work party and our very own National Trust Midweek volunteers and Sunday volunteers
  • That equates to about 318.5 hours of hard work from volunteers, or 49 work days
  • With help from 3 members of staff, a total of 461.5 hours of individual work was undertaken
  • We planted over 4,200 trees, put in 4,200 stakes and wrapped around 4,200 spiral tree guards over 700 meters of our boundary
  • That equated to 86 bundles of trees, 17 bags of stakes and 17 boxes of guards, hefted up and over muddy footpaths to site, that’s without the additional tools necessary for the job
  • 2,940 Hawthorn, 420 Blackthorn, 252 Hazel, 210 Dog Rose, 126 Guelder Rose, 126 Field Maple, 126 Crab Apple and 20 Sessile Oak were planted
  • All materials for the project cost just over £2,000
  • We also created 20 habitat piles close to the new hedge using brash taken from existing trees in the hedgeline, which will allow light into the new trees but also provide additional valuable habitat
  • And finally, to keep us going we ate two batches of Alan’s Peanut Slice, some of Gill’s Potato & Pesto Roll, Chris’ Banana Loaf, Margaret’s birthday Fruit Loaf, along with a box of Fox’s Biscuits, a box of Cadbury Roses and a box of Nestle Quality Street. I thought I was putting on weight…

At any opportunity, I think it’s important to praise the help the National Trust receives from volunteers. As always, we couldn’t do what we do without you.

North York Moors National Park HOBS group


Ordnance Survey work party


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National Trust weekend volunteers


Through snow, rain and sunshine, smiles, groans and laughter, hard graft, thorned fingers and heavy calorie consumption – we finally completed the hedge in early February, just over one month after John and I started.

Alan, from the North York Moors National Park HOBS group had the honour of planting the last tree

And so, what was the reason for planting the hedge?

Traditional field boundaries, specifically dry stones walls and hedges, are a major part of the landscape character of the North York Moors National Park. The purpose of the National Park’s scheme is to encourage these to be managed or restored.

Specifically with the hedge at Roseberry Topping, there is evidence of a previous, older hedge having been in place along part of the current boundary, with a number of mature, sparsely grown Hawthorn trees along its way. We wanted to re-instate this historic feature.

Also, the wildlife value of creating a new hedge will be considerably huge, creating shelter, food, nesting spots and valuable habitat for a huge range of species – from flowers and insects, to birds and small mammals. It will also form a wildlife corridor, allowing species to move between different habitats and allowing the continuation of viable populations.

Finally, with the hedge being alongside a public footpath, we can take a walk alongside it and enjoy it individually, seeing it establish over the coming years!


A favourite tree of mine

Every morning, on my way in to work, I walk past the same oak tree. A favourite tree of mine.

Every morning, I stop to admire it along with the small copse of trees behind it and the ever changing backdrop.

Come rain or shine, such a great way to start each day!

South West revisited – Gog and Magog

Early into our trip we paid a visit to the magnificent ancient oak trees of Gog and Magog.


These two trees – with the traditional and biblical names of giant beings – are located close to Glastonbury Tor in Somerset.

Known as the ‘Oaks of Avalon’, the two trees are thought to be over 2000 years old and to have been part of a ceremonial Druidic avenue of oak trees running towards the Tor and beyond.

It definitely felt special, sacred even, being in the presence of these two beauties – one of which is now standing dead, the other still clinging on to life.

A little eerie in some respects too. Here, the tree paints a contrasting picture of a face high up in the canopy…