Gordon Buchanan's wildlife challenge

Gordon Buchanan Trees are the lungs of our world and without them we would simply cease to exist, says Gordon Buchanan

This challenge will help you gain a greater appreciation of the trees that might be just outside your window.

They are a great source of food and shelter for our native wildlife and are fascinating to look at.

Identify the trees you can spot:
Common beech tree

Do you know your beech from your birch tree?

  • From your bedroom window
  • 5m from your front door
  • 50m from your front door
  • In your local park

Leaves, bark and the shape of the tree will help you to identify them.

There are around 50 species of tree that are native to the UK.

The Woodland Trust identifies the trees listed below among the ten most commonly found. Click on the links to find out more about the tree and what it looks like.

Why not try to find all ten?

Common oak

Oak tree Have you ever sat under a tree and listened to the wildlife living in it?


Horse chestnut

Common beech

Common ash


Field maple


Common lime


For more about our trees, see the Woodland Trust's species list.

The 15 minute challenge

Sit quietly under a tree and see how many different animals, birds and insects you can list and identify in the tree.

Age a tree

Download your own copy of the Summer of Wildlife Handbook

PDF download Summer of Wildlife Handbook [pdf][15.9MB]

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First, find the circumference of the tree by measuring around the trunk about 1.3m off the ground.

Now you can estimate the tree's age. Divide the circumference of the tree by the average growth rate for that species.

According to the Royal Forestry Society, broadleaved trees such as oak, ash, beech and sycamore grow around 1.5-2cm in girth annually. But in open conditions, this growth rate is nearer 2.5cm.

For more information on ageing trees, go to the Royal Forestry Society's website.

Finally, be sure to share any photographs you take on the BBC Summer of Wildlife Flickr group. As part of our See it, Snap it, Share it challenge, we're hoping to reach 100,000 photographs that document the state of our UK wildlife in the summer of 2013.

All summer we'll be hosting an online conversation around the Summer of Wildlife. Follow BBC Nature on Facebook and Twitter @BBCNature. Join in and share your own Summer of Wildlife experiences and get the latest news and updates about the wildlife near you.

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