Ancient trees celebrated at Epping Forest
Epping Forest is playing host to the Ancient Tree Forum’s annual summer conference on 13th / 14th July. The conference will be considering how such trees should be conserved and protected by legislation and also the huge challenges they now face from diseases and declining soil health.
On the first day of the conference, a declaration will be signed between City of London Corporation and the Ancient Tree Forum to promote the conservation of such trees and encourage others to do the same.
Epping Forest itself is home to 55,000 ancient trees, more than any other single site in the country. They are centuries old and some of Epping Forest’s beeches may have been growing there since Anglo-Saxon times representing some of the oldest living plants in Europe, irreplaceable and rare.
Philip Woodhouse, Chairman of the Epping Forest Management Committee said: “Ancient trees support Europe’s greatest terrestrial biodiversity. London’s treescape is one of the centres for this wildlife with internationally-important sites like Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches. These ancient trees support a hugely diverse range of wildlife, from insects, fungi, birds and amphibians, right up to large animals like deer.
“The strength and well-being of urban and rural communities alike is rooted in its trees. Strong healthy trees are a mark of a strong healthy community, ensuring cleaner air and supporting mental well-being by providing sheltered tranquil green spaces which is why we continue to work with experts from across the UK and the world to ensure our trees are around to witness the next 1,000 years.”
Some of Epping Forest’s ancient trees were around when Magna Carta and its sister document, the Forest Charter were signed, through the Reformation; the Spanish Armada and the English Civil War and, of course two world wars. Some of the ancient Oaks would have even “witnessed” Henry VIII visiting his new hunting lodge in Epping Forest over 450 years ago.
The City of London Corporation manages over 11,000 acres of green space across London and south east England, including Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath and Burnham Beeches, with many of its sites designated National nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest for their unique ecology and rare plant species.
Epping Forest is London and Essex’s largest open space, attracting nearly 5 million visits a year.
Susanna Lascelles, Media Officer, City of London Corporation
T 020 7332 1754