Friday, 22 July 2016

June 2016 Mayow Park tree walk part 2

A month ago I started writing  about the Friends of Mayow Park family-friendly tree walk, which took place on 5th June and which included measuring tree height, tree girth and bark rubbings of a few trees.
I'll now try to complete that post
We moved on from the row of silver birch trees, past the former bowls green. Immediately on the right is a good example of an ancient oak that has been pollarded. Trees with a number of trunks above head height are called pollards.  Pollarding involves cutting branches off to encourage growth of new trunks above head height and was a common form of woodland management. The cuts, and therefore new shoot growth, were above the reach of grazing livestock belonging to commoners. This particular pollard had four trunks at about 10 feet high but one had to be removed around 5 or 6 years ago for safety. Seen below is the same tree from different sides. It has three trunks although you can only see two in the photos.

Pollarded ancient oak between bowls green and tennis courts
Mike, with help from some children, measured the girth of this pollard at 5.2 metres, which we estimated as around 300 years old.

hornbeam seed pods

Bark rubbing of hornbeam
Our next stop was the hornbeam. Although hornbeams are indicator trees for ancient woodland, this is a young tree that would have been intentionally planted.
hornbeam leaves

 Hornbeam leaves and seed pods are quite distinctive.
the beautiful hornbeam opposite the orchard

 Before moving on we looked briefly at the orchard, opposite the tennis courts. The orchard now contains 18 fruit trees, all heritage varieties, which were planted in 2012 and 2016 with the support of the Urban Orchard Project.
Mayow Park Community Orchard
Our next stop was the number 1 favourite tree in the park for many children . . . the climbing tree. Quercus Ilex or holm oak is easy to spot, not far from the Recreation Road gates. It is an evergreen oak that sheds its leaves throughout the year and casts such a shadow around it that no plants grow underneath. I recently met an adult in his forties who, as a child, loved climbing that tree. So it has really stood the test of time.

the best climbing tree in the whole park
Heading back across the park we briefly stopped by a row of oaks that clearly look like they were intentionally planted as boundary oaks, to mark field or property boundaries.
Boundary oaks in Mayow Park early spring 2016
We headed across the oval field to the tree we think must be the oldest oak in the park. It stands near the fountain and is another pollard. Its girth was 5.4 metres,  measured at a height of 1.3 metres from the ground. Could this tree really be around 340 years old? I'd welcome measurements of other oaks and age calculations from other people.
within sight of Victorian fountain
girth 5.4 metres
Could this be the oldest tree in the park?

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