Favourite Trees

I have a few favourite trees which I pass on my walks and have known them for years and enjoy watching them change through the seasons.

This old Beech (Fagus sylvatica) has so much character and lots of interesting features. It looks like it has been pollarded – cut high leaving a truck from which numerous new trunks grow upwards towards the light. This used to be common practice to allow cows to graze underneath in a wood pasture and where the new shoots of the tree were safe above the browsing line. This was a great way of producing wood sustainably so it could be harvested many times and beech wood is great for turning and making furniture.
At the bottom of the main trunk is a huge canker where the tree has reacted to a wound or pathogen and created a growth of bark to protect itself.
Walking round the back of the tree is a hole where a branch has fallen off many years ago and the tissue around it has grown to heal the wound. The remaining wood has rotted away and created a hole and a valuable veteran tree feature to exploited by birds, insects and maybe even bats.
I love the texture of the bark here too.
Beech trees often fuse their branches where they touch creating some wonderful living bridges and buttresses  – a feature seen in this other tree which I regularly pass and which is another favourite.
Another favourite is a multi-stemmed Apple which seems to have grown exceptionally tall in a fairly young oak plantation. Usually these are scrubby individuals and so it’s rare to find one so tall. Maybe when they planted the oak, they found the apple and left it as in Celtic folklore it is celebrated and signifies fruitfulness and immortality. It probably grew tall as it was in a race for light with its neighbours. For years it had a crystal pyramid nestling in its lower branches but has now sadly disappeared – maybe it was part of a wassailing ceremony!
It has some wonderful blossom too, although short-lived in wind and rain.
Love the trees!

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