Roger Deakin in Tiger Wood

Wildwood deakin

Roger Deakin memorably described a spring evening in Tiger Wood in Suffolk in “Wildwood”. The wood’s name comes from the discovery of a curved canine of a sabre-tooth tiger unearthed here some years back.

Ronald and I had walked through Tiger Wood in the snow the winter before. The day was brilliant, the trees sparkling and frilled with frost. A white line of snow was pencilled up the north-east side of each tree. John Nash loved woods, particularly in winter, when their architecture is revealed. The lines of the nude trees are so much stronger.  The bones of the landscape stand out. He loved the ruins of woods : dead trees fallen over one another, fungi and brittle twigs. He hated woods to be tidied, and the fashion for management that rubbed out all evidence of past inhabitants, all natural continuity of living denizens.

Formby’s red squirrels

Formby squirrel
The star atraction of the National Trust Formby pinewoods are the easily spotted red squirrels,  the southernmost mainland population in Britain,  which have clung on here because grey squirrels can’t survive in pinewoods as they are unable to open pine cones.  Despite this, a 2007-08 outbreak of squirrel pox transmitted by greys wiped out some 80 percent of their numbers, leaving as few as 20 reds although the population has quickly bounced back ( 250 by 2014 – video) and the survivors appear to have developed some resistance to the deadly disease.

As of autumn 2015, the population has risen to 250 animals.


The Fortingall yew


The Fortingall Yew is generally considered as the oldest tree in Britain. Like many yews, it stands in a churchyard. Yews were sacred for the Celts, and the Christian church often found it expedient to take over these existing sacred sites for churches. This oldest of yews is the village of Fortingall in Perthshire. Recent tests suggest the tree is some 2,000 years old, rather younger than the 5,000 years claimed by some, but still probably one of the oldest trees in Northern Europe. The yew was vandalised for tourist trinkets in the 19th century, and its once massive girths is now split into several trunks, giving the impression of several smaller trees.

The Major Oak in Nottinghamshire

The Major Oak in Nottinghamshire

The Major Oak is a pedunculate oak (Quercus robur) found in Sherwood forest, Nottinghamshire. About 800 years old, according to folklore its hollow trunk was used as a hideout by Robin Hood and his merry men. The tree weighs 23 tonnes, its trunk circumference is 33 feet (10m) and its branches spread to over 92 feet (28m). Conservation measures have been carried out continually since 1908. Today, slender steel poles prop the sprawling limbs of this forest giant, which is visited annually by thousands of people. `[The Guardian]

In 2014, it was voted ‘England’s Tree of the Year’ in a public poll run by the Woodland Trust

In 2003, in Dorset a plantation was started of 260 saplings grown from acorns of the Major Oak. The purpose was to provide a focal point for an Internet-based study of the Major Oak, its history, photographic record, variation in size and leafing of the saplings, comparison of their DNA, and an eventual public amenity.

Photograph: Nottinghamshire County Council