Ancients with halos, and clearings in the forest.

I’ve been spending time in the Forestry England part of the forest recently, and have been visiting and recording some amazing trees there.

Here’s one which is ancient and special….

It’s a hollow, fragmented and dead trunk, with a strip of bark on one side which is very much alive!

Actually the living strip of bark wraps around/up/over a dead branch stub. On the ground by the tree there are branches and massive parts of the shell of the hollow trunk. It looks like there has been a fall recently, of some of the dead trunk, and there is a sort of hill of brown rot spilling out of the gap.

What’s interesting, is that the tree has been haloed recently, and I was thinking that people either know what this means, or don’t. It’s when a clearing is created around a tree such as this, maybe to 5m or even more, so that the tree has access to as much light as possible – crucial for an ancient like this, so that it can develop any epicormic growth if it wants to, or just have access to more light, make more nutrients, allocate them around itself as it sees fit, and just improve in health and vitality. It’s also useful to clear surrounding trees to prevent them falling on ancient trees like this, and perhaps causing damage. You can see how dense the birch was by looking at the surrounding tree growth in the background.

So this tree is in its own clearing. Actually, looking around the clearing you can see that the birch is starting to regrow, but it will be a while yet before this starts to compete for light. What’s also interesting in this clearing is that there are lots of foxgloves starting to grow, with their basal leaves settling this year ready for their flowers next year. It’s a reminder of the old/traditional coppice cycles, with plants benefiting from cleared areas of woodland.


Elsewhere in the forest…

… are other trees that have been haloed. Here’s one I visited recently, and you can see from the regrowth of holly from the cut stumps that it was haloed quite recently. The hollies nearby and the size of the holly stumps give an impression of how crowded the tree may have been. The sense that I got from the tree was something like ‘I feel great!!!’. It’ll be good to see how this tree grows in the years ahead.

Here’s another tree that was haloed before – the hollies around it have regrown slightly more. But the tree has responded well, and has put on a little epicormic growth at various places on the trunk, burrs and branches.

Another haloed tree has made some great new twigs and leaves this year…


And elsewhere in the forest again…… a great haloing story, this time with a before and a very good after.

Here’s the before, when I visited the tree last winter. To get to the tree I felt like I had to swim through a sea of birch, but I was determined to visit the tree as I could see it above the sea of birch. It was tricky to photograph it and get far enough away to see the whole tree.

But then later on I heard chainsaws, and realised that this area was having some work done….. and 6 months later when I revisited…..what a difference, wow!

It’s one of my favourite trees, one of many!…..