The Killerton Sweet Chestnut
East Devon's greatest trees
Forty-eight ancient trees have been recognised as East Devon's greatest after they were nominated by the public. The trees, some dating back over 1,000 years, each have a fascinating story to tell.
A year long competition to discover East Devon's greatest ancient trees has uncovered some superb specimens dating back over 1,000 years.
Little was previously known about several of the trees nominated by the public and three 800-year-old yews have come to light for the first time.
East Devon District Council asked residents to dig deeper into the cultural heritage of their local area by uncovering the stories behind their favourite trees.
The French Lieutenant's Woman's Tree
In total 48 trees have been chosen by a panel of national and local judges for their wildlife, cultural, historic and landscape value.
Some of those to make the grade are the Whimple Cricket Oak, a sweet chestnut on the National Trust's Killerton Estate and the French Lieutenant's Woman's Tree on the Axmouth to Lyme Regis Undercliffs Nature Reserve.
Project coordinator Kate Tobin says the competition has helped people become more aware of what's around them.
"Ancient trees are particularly important and in Britain we have an international responsibility to look after them.
"The competition was a great way of finding out where these ancient trees are and getting people to tell the fascinating stories behind them.
The Farway Yew
"We hope to be able to use these stories with local schools for storytelling, to give help and advice to the owners where necessary, and to collect seed from some of our great trees.
"Bicton Agricultural College has offered to host a Great Tree Seed Bank to bring on seedlings, so we hope to encourage people to gather seeds this autumn. We also plan to continue surveying our ancient native trees, with a band of enthusiastic volunteers."
If all goes well, the seed bank will ensure that many of the trees nominated by the public will one day have successors.
A poster showing the trees and their stories will be available from September in tourist information centres and libraries. A CD is also available for showing in public places, such as village halls, waiting rooms, schools or other community buildings.
Details of the 48 trees will be sent to the Ancient Tree Forum, the National Tree Register and the Devon Gardens Trust.
The competition is part of the three-year Great Trees Project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, in partnership with the East Devon council, English Nature and East Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership.
last updated: 22/02/2008 at 10:08