Sunday, 3 January 2021

Newhaven's Open Spaces - places for wildlife and memory vaults

Memory might be mapped across our lifetimes as a line of recollections, fading in a slow dissolve over time into a series of punctuated dashes and dots.

View from Meeching Down, Newhaven, 1987


I've lived in Newhaven for nearly fifty years – a period of time long enough to have developed a deep and intimate passion for the town, a sense of place and a firm and unshakeable 'rootedness'. I've lived in six different places around town which, when plotted on a town map, form a shape which reminds me of the constellation of Orion the Hunter, a pattern of stars which climbs above the southeastern horizon each evening at this time of year, his loyal hunting dogs* at his side.

I have felt the most in touch with the daily pulse of the town while living in our current home, thanks in part to a broad view across the Ouse Valley. We see the comings-and-goings of the ferry and trains, the red flashes of the level crossing lights, the traffic passing or tailing back over the flyover, and people walking with their dogs along the beach at Tidemills. At least six nature reserves can be seen from the house, along with a few other smaller open spaces. Three of these (Castle Hill, Meeching Down and Bollen's Bush) form three clay-rich outcrops along the skyline which might be called Newhaven's 'three peaks'.

For a busy industrial port dominated by the flow of things through the town onto other places, it feels to me that we have a good share of open spaces. A quick calculation of the 720 hectares contained within the Newhaven Civil Parish produces a land area for the six nature reserves of approximately 112 hectares, or about 15% of the town's land. Added to this are several other open amenity spaces, undeveloped land containing woodland and scrub, hinterlands between surrounding parishes and the embracing South Downs National Park. I don't know how this compares with other towns elsewhere, but it feels like something worth cherishing and protecting.

These special places contrast with other parts of the town which have changed during my fifty years: the riverside quays have become more of a sink for waste materials passing through from elsewhere; areas of the Valley, Newhaven Heights and the floodplain have been developed or are in the process of development; and other patches of land such as the recent destruction of some stunningly diverse chalk grassland at The Crescent in Denton** have been irreparably damaged by inconsiderate management.


Open spaces bring people together

The special places we have now are crucial refuges and interconnecting corridors for wildlife, but they are important also for things like the town's character, our collective social identity and places to meet and enjoy time away from the thrum of daily life, to pause, reflect and contemplate. To create memories. All these things combine to grow our individual and collective sense of rootedness in the town – like a form of social and cultural woodland, our roots holding us together, anchoring down our seaside community. Having places where happy experiences and memories are lived is central to this.

Memory might be mapped across our lifetimes as a line of recollections, fading in a slow dissolve over time into a series of punctuated dashes and dots. A memoir expressed through the medium of Morse Code. At Meeching Down ('The Union') I can remember my Dad lifting me up so that I could see the sea above the line of willows behind Northdown Road, learning to ride a bike, playing in the sandpit, sledging down the snow-covered hill towards Brighton Road, an encounter with a Woodcock which is as fresh in my memory as if it happened just yesterday; and, more recently, an enjoyable evening of moth trapping with local families. When I think about those dots and dashes, I'm amazed by how many were made in the town's open spaces. 


Me on The Union (Meeching Down) in 1972

These are places where we come together and create memories. They have been especially important during the Covid-19 crisis, even if we have not been able to meet in such great numbers. They deserve our care and good stewardship. This year is important for the UK's role in environmental management, on both the local and global stages, and it has begun with our exit from the European Union and its changes to environmental and farming laws and culminates in September with the COP26 meeting***.

I want to challenge every person this year to find their voice and speak up for nature and the environment, to be a part of promoting the value of open spaces for now and the future and to get outside and create those moments which live long in the memory. Places which live in the front of our minds are safer and more resistant to change.


*Canis Major and Canis Minor. See:

**Following a change in ownership of a small plot of land with good quality semi-improved chalk grassland and which had been sensitively and lightly grazed for many years, the new owner fenced off a right of way crossing the land and cleared the flora back to the chalk substrate for an unconfirmed change of use. The South Downs Planning Authority has since ordered the owner to reinstate the land, but the rich diversity of flora will take decades to recover, even with favourable management.

*** The COP26 summit will bring nations and non-governmental organisations together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC). See:

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Is Brexit the path to sustainable farming?

However one feels about Brexit and its effects, one certainty is that farming and farmland, as we have known it during our EU membership, will change. The Agriculture Act 2020 was enacted in November and with it began a seven-year transition in which English farmers will adapt to a new financial support system to replace the Common Agricultural Polcy (CAP). 

The CAP has many criticisms and I doubt many wildlife conservationists will mourn its end. Under the scheme, farmers receive a Basic Payment subsidy based on the size of their farmed land. The intention is to guarantee minimum levels of production so that EU citizens have enough food to eat, and to ensure a fair standard of living for those dependent on the agriculture sector. The older EU states receive a larger payment per hectare than the others and France, Germany and Spain are considered to be the greatest beneficiaries of the scheme, which amounts to nearly €60 billion annually.

The policy has been accused of ignoring the rules of supply and demand, favouring larger farms and industry giants. It has promoted overproduction of food by member states, creating mountains of surplus food, which goes to waste or is transported to developing nations, thus undermining the livelihoods of local endemic farmers. It has also restricted development in poorer non-EU countries by imposing import tariffs on their agricultural products. It has also created bland farming landscapes as a result of of its broad-brush approach to farming strategies, with a narrow diversity of farming practises, grazing regimes and crop rotation. 

On 30th November Defra published a roadmap: Path to sustainable farming. This sets out the key aims of the seven-year transition. Instead of the flat-rate Basic Payment, farmers will be rewarded for engaging with farming practices that have environmental benefits. These will promote wildlife, reduce flooding, improve soil health, reduce soil erosion and include positive adaptations to climate change. This is summarised in a Government blog here

What might this mean for farming in the Greenhavens area? There is genuine hope that we will see more diversity in crop production and grazing regimes, better marginal environments around fields, the development of wildlife corridors, land being taken out of regular production, a reduction in the intensity of farming practices, creation of a greater mosaic of land uses, a reduction in the use of biocides, improvement in aquatic and semi-aquatic habitats, development of seasonal floodplains, more tree planting, greater public access onto enclosed land and a positive improvement in the visual amenity of farmland. The list is not exhaustive, but there is an opportunity to transform the current bland farmland aspect to one of a diversity of interconnecting habitats which will help British wildlife to recover from the damage it has suffered since the post-war intensification of farming.

There is, however, a recent cautionary tale from the Lake District that all landowners and regulating authorities should keep at the front of their minds, and that is the rush to indiscriminately plant trees in order to achieve targets, such as those set by carbon sequestration to reduce the impacts of climate change and the Forestry Commission's committment to plant 30k hectares of trees every year until 2025.

With a decline in public services since 2010, environmental regulators have fewer staff on the ground and there has consequently been an erosion in local knowledge, with a greater reliance on computer models and desk-top studies. The Forestry Commission (FC) is one such authority which inadvertently became a victim of this.

The FC is the responsible authority overseeing afforestation by private landowners. The owners of Berrier End Farm near Penrith in Cumbria, an area on the edge of the Lake District National Park, asked for permission to create a commercial conifer plantation. 

The FC required them to submit an Environmental Impact Assessment, a breeding bird survey and archaeological assessment before granting permission. A GIS mapping system was used to identify any priority habitats on the land proposed for afforestation, but because Berrier End Farm has no formal designation or protection for wildlife, and because no field surveys were carried out, its rich wildlife habitats with peat bog and transitional mires with a wealth of rare plant communities was not identified. 

Once permission was granted, responsibility was passed from FC to the Countryside Stewardship and the Rural Payments Agency for grant payments. It wasn't until areas of deep peat were ploughed, destroying important wildlife areas, that a local botanist raised the alarm with FC. But by then it was too late.

The FC genuinely cares about wildlife and it has been embarrassed by this episode in large part because it is struggling to fulfil its priorities as a result of Governmental resource cuts. 

A vibrant community of wildlife enthusiasts will need to engage with the new farming regime if similar unintended consequences are to be avoided - and this applies to the Greenhavens area as much as anywhere else. Let us hope then that the new Agriculture Act 2020 helps to improve all apsects of our farmed landscapes without harming wildlife and habitats and that 2021 will be the beginning of positive change.

All photographs by Steven Teale.

Monday, 21 December 2020

Hibernating wildlife – dormancy as a winter survival strategy

An overwintering Peacock butterfly at Newhaven Fort tunnels

Hibernating wildlife – dormancy as a winter survival strategy

Did you know that the Dormouse is named after the French word meaning 'to sleep': dormir? It's one of quite a few British wildlife species which have adapted to winter by dodging it entirely.

We're halfway through the darkest time of year and have arrived at that brief moment of suspended animation, the Winter Solstice, when the days neither shorten nor lengthen. The world seems to be in a state of dormancy. For much of our wildlife the toughest time still lies ahead. Food is in short supply; life is full of challenges. Species that aren't able to migrate need to tough it out, but some species have adapted to conserve their energy by hibernating.

Much energy is saved by entering a state of torpor – the result of reducing heart rate, breathing, metabolism and body temperature. The depth of torpor varies between species and it is punctuated with periods of activity within their hibernaculum, a place of hibernation and relative safety, protected from the extremes of temperature, humidity and wind.

Hibernating animals still burn energy, but at a much reduced rate. They need to ensure their fat reserves will sustain them throughout the winter. Like migrating species, hibernating creatures feast on the autumn harvest in order to maximise their body fat before entering the hibernaculum.

Who hibernates?


Most butterflies spend the winter as eggs (ova), larvae or pupae, but some species hibernate as adults and emerge on warm winter days and at the start of spring as the day-length increases. These include the Brimstone and Red Admiral, which hibernate deep within vegetation, and the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell, which seem to prefer structures such as unheated buildings or rabbit holes, providing the light, temperature, humidity and ventilation are stable. Rabbit warrens are excellent places to search for emerging butterflies on warm, sunny spring days.

Many moth species also hibernate as adults, including the stunning leaf-like Herald and the Bloxworth Snout, a recent UK colonist which is tolerant of the cold and usually only enters a light hibernation.

If you have ever noticed swarms of ladybirds in late-autumn around your windows and doors, these are likely to be the Harlequin Ladybird – an invasive Asian species released in Europe to control aphids. Hibernating around fenestration protects them from frosts and moisture.

Some fly species also hibernate and the one most commonly encountered is the Cluster Fly, a parasite of earthworms, which likes to hibernate in roofspaces and false ceilings.

Reptiles and Amphibians

All British reptiles and amphibians hibernate, although my pond often has active frogs around it deep into mild winters. Palmate newts overwinter in the damp ground beneath logs and stones, where they are protected from predators and frosts. Reptiles such as snakes and lizards choose dry hibernacula such as old burrows and compost heaps.


The only geniune mammalian hibernators are hedgehogs, dormice and bats, but most other species including rodents and badgers become less active. Bats are often found in similar places to butterflies and moths. Hedgehogs make a hibernaculum from dead vegetation and emerge only to add extra insulation if the temperature drops too low. 

A hibernating Herald moth (Scoliopteryx libatrix)

Gardening for hibernating wildlife – how you can help wildlife in winter

Not tidying parts of your garden will help to provide space for hibernating wildlife amongst long grass and vegetation. Creating log-piles, a compost heap or making a bug hotel will help insects, amphibians, reptiles and mammals overwinter. Remember though to check bonfires before they are lit for hedgehogs and other species.

You might find a butterfly or moth inside your home which has been woken by the central heating. By holding them gently it is fine to place them in an outbuilding or in a hedge that can be safely exited when spring arrives.

The effects of climate change can confuse species, especially if warmer winter temperatures cause them to emerge before there are sufficient food or nectar sources to sustain them. This can be especially harmful to bees, which are among the earliest hibernators to emerge on warm winter days, when there are few or no natural nectar sources. Growing winter-flowering plants and shrubs can help them, as well as placing food out for birds and mammals.

Bloxworth Snout (Hypena obsitalis) moths only enter a light state of hbernation and are more tolerant of low temperatures than many other species



All photographs taken by Steven Teale in the Newhaven Fort tunnels in East Sussex.

Friday, 18 December 2020

Additional photos and information to the Greenhavens article 'Admiring the Beeches at Duke's Walk in Seaford'.

There follows some additional information and photographs to accompany an article on the Greenhavens Network blog

Many of the larger trees along Duke's Walk, which runs along the foot of Rookery Hill at Bishopstone, have buttressed bases to the trunks and exposed roots spreading across the path, some covered by a filigree of small ivy growth, others with large corded vines reaching up into the canopy. Lichens glow in the murky light. 

I have tried measuring the girth of the largest trees, but it is a two- or three-person job. They straddle the flint wall in places, have a halo of bramble and overlook the water-filled channel. Not an ideal lone-working environment! The girth of the trees has swelled not only beyond the collapsing flint wall but also across the lines of barbed wire stock fence built to replace the wall. Some of the trees are slowly absorbing the wire.

Many of the Duke's Walk beeches have buttressed roots and a filigree of ivy growing up the trunks.

The beech trees have outlived a broken, collapsing flint wall, and the wire livestock fence that replaced the wall. Some of the beeches are absorbing the barbed wire into their boles.

Sixty year-old graffiti

One of the most striking features of the elephantine beech trees is the bark, which is smooth like a living vellum. This feature inspired the modernist artist Paul Nash to depict them in lithe, human form in some of his works. The Duke's beeches are tatooed with the work of other artists: young lovers with pen-knives, keen to share their ardour with all who pass. The oldest graffiti has swelled with the growing trees. The earliest discernable date I found is 1961, but other carvings seem older than this. When I first encountered the beeches about 35 or 40 years ago I was told by my friend's father, who had brought us there, that his initials (BG!) were somewhere on one of the trees. The tradition has been maintained through the years: 1975, 1996, 2018. To some this is vandalism; to others an artistic expression of love. 


All photographs taken by Steven Teale, November 2020.

The Holly bears the Crown: the seasonal significance of Holly 2/2

 The Holly bears the Crown: the seasonal significance of Holly 2/2

Part 2 of 2: Ecology

In the first part of this seasonal study, we established that Holly and Ivy are symbolic plants associated with the Winter Solstice, Yuletide and Christmas traditions. Ivy was used to symbolise femininity; Holly, masculinity. The name Holly is suggested by some to be a corruption of the word 'holy'. 

In folklore, Holly was apparently allowed to grow tall above the hedgeline in order to impede witches as they flew above them. For centuries at Christmas, garlands of holly and ivy have been collected to decorate the outside and inside of peoples' homes, often with ivy outside and holly within (Deck the Halls), but it was considered unlucky to do so before Christmas Eve, perhaps because cutting the boughs would allow witches to move more freely. Records describing the seasonal cutting of holly boughs date as far back as the 15th Century in the reign of Henry VI.

Holly was historically a source of winter livestock fodder at a time when greenery was otherwise limited or absent. It is for this reason that holly was grown for pollarding*  and these are reflected in British place names and peoples' names, such as Hollywood, Holt, Holm and, most importantly, Hollins. There are often no holly trees remaining at these places, but stands remain around the New Forest, Dorset, and perhaps most impressively at Staverton Thicks in Suffolk and the Stiperstones in Shropshire. 

I am not aware of many examples locally within the Greenhavens area, but there is an impressive Veteran Holly in the churchyard at Barcombe** and there is a area of dense Holly growth with the occasional mature tree at the rear of the old Union Workhouse at Newhaven, now part of the Meeching Down Local Nature Reserve in Newhaven. Is there any historical relation between the trees and the former workhouse? The land was part of the Union Workhouse from around 1835 and this is why locals still call Meeching Down 'The Union Field'.

Holly growing at The Union (Meeching Down Local Nature Reserve, Newhaven)

Holly is an impressive member of Britain's native flora. It was one of the earliest trees to colonise the land after the last ice age when a land bridge still existed with continental Europe. It grows in a range of soil types at at a range of altitudes. It is susceptible to extremes of temperature and moisture (i.e. drought and waterlogging), but it is otherwise tolerant of exposure to wind, salt, shade, browsing by animals, air pollution and pollarding. 

Holly berries are toxic to humans, but a few can be taken as a purgative. Birds such as Mistle Thrushes Turdus viscivorus (a folk-name is 'hollin cock') and Robins Erithacus rubecula are so fond of them that they will defend individual bushes as a food resource during cold seasons. For a species which colonised Britain so early, its tough adaptations are so successful at deterring invertebrate larvae that only a few species are associated with it, the most conspicuous being the leaf-mining fly Phytomyza ilicis, which causes a distinctive yellow and red blotch-mine on its tough leaves. The caterpillar of the Holly Blue butterfly Celastrina argiolus feeds on the developing berries on female trees. This butterfly has two broods each year and the second brood eggs are laid on ivy, where the caterpillars feed on the flowers. The Holly Tortrix moth Rhopobota neavana also feeds as a caterpillar on silk-spun leaves and flowers of Holly and other fruit trees.

Phytomyza ilicis larval fly mine on a holly leaf

Phytomyza ilicis larval fly mine on a holly leaf

One fascinating characteristic about Holly is that its leaves above the browseline are less spiny or spine-free. Growing spines on its leaves involves additional energy input, so it is possible that it evolved either to lose its spines above the level reached by deer or it evolved to grow spines below a certain level in response to browsing by deer. The bitter bark can be boiled to produce a sticky substance called birdlime, which was used historically to capture small birds, a link back to the Christmas carols.

And the first tree in the greenwood, it was the Holly (the Sans Day Carol). 

Happy Christmas everyone and may the yuletide log burn bright and warm in your hearths!

Less spiny leaves above the browse line


* Pollarding is a form of tree management similar to coppicing in which growth is cut back periodically above the height of browsing animals such as deer. Trees are pollarded to provide winter fodder for livestock or wood products for basket-making and other traditional crafts.

** Ancient Tree Inventory link to the Barcombe Holly:


The Holly bears the Crown: the seasonal significance of Holly 1/2

The Holly bears the Crown: the seasonal significance of Holly 1/2

Part 1 of 2: Culture

Do you have a favourite Christmas Carol? At this time of year I dig out a favourite Christmas album called A Tapestry of Carols, performed by Maddy Prior and The Carnival Band. It is one of the most authentic collections of seasonal folk-carols I know of. Two favourite songs both have Holly Ilex aquifolium as their central theme: The Sans Day Carol and The Holly and the Ivy. They are examples of quite a few seasonal songs which use these evergreen plants as pagan and religious symbols.

The Holly and the Ivy was always a childhood favourite of mine, even if I didn't appreciate at the time how steeped it is in both Pagan and Christian tradition. 

The first and last of the six stanzas are repeated:

The holly and the ivy / Now are both full grown / 
Of all the trees that are in the wood / The holly bears the crown.

The lines are interpreted to mean that the Holly and Ivy Hedera helix, being evergreen, are the most prominent at around Midwinter, but that the holly and its value at this time is worthy of divine comparison, the crown being Christ's Crown of Thorns. The Holly is King of the Wood at Midwinter.

The middle four stanzas of the song compare the divine attributes of the holly and ivy with Jesus and the Virgin Mary: flower, berry, prickle and bark, which respectively represent purity, blood, the Crown of Thorns and the drink of wine mixed with gall, a bitter herb which Jesus was offered but refused as he was led to his crucifixion (Matthew 27:34).

The chorus contains some interesting historical and natural references:

O, the rising of the sun / The running of the deer / The playing of the merry groan / Sweet singing in the choir.

The rising of the sun refers to the rebirth and reappearance of the sun after Midwinter and heralds the new year.

The running of the deer refers to the tradition of hunting on the day following the Winter Solstice. Holly is a winter browsing plant for deer and, historically, people would certainly have felt the need to defend their 'hollins' from them. It might be an activity being described in this line of the verse. Thankfully, this hunt which at the height of its popularity evolved into the indiscriminate killing of any bird that could be taken, including songbirds, and which were then baked in pies, has been replaced by Christmas Bird Races, in which groups of enthusiasts travel across wide areas and compete to spot as many bird species as they can find. The Isle of Man's Christmas Bird Race might also be their modern version of the Manx 'wren hunt' - another cruel tradition.

The playing of the merry groan refers to a stringed 'renaissance instrument' that would have accompanied carol singers. Maddy Prior's rendition, as with most modern versions, replaces 'groan' with 'organ' (I'm not sure if the anagram of organ/groan is accidental or intentional), but it feels more clumsy than the original and doesn't rhyme or fit the metre. The original lyrics included 'groan' in the published broadside*.

Sweet singing in the choir. The pre-modern English word for choir would apparently have been pronounced 'keer', which of course rhymes with 'deer'. Who doesn't like getting together at this darkest time of year with like-minded souls for a satisfying sing-along? Wassail!

* A broadside was a large format print designed to be pasted to a wall and used for public notices amongst other things and was popular in the 18th and 19th Centuries. The first printed version of The Holly and the Ivy was printed on a broadside around 1711, although the exact date can only be estimated. Limited numbers of broadsides were also produced for things such as public executions! 

Available here

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Get into the woods! No matter what you expect to find there – go and see what you can find*

 *from Sequoia Sonnets, 1919

I am no arboriculturalist, nor a botanist, not really a nemophile (visits to woods are a special occasion when one lives on the eastern Sussex Downs), but I might be a dendrophile. I have for many years appreciated trees and made pilgrimages to visit special individuals. I have been known to involuntarily say "Hello!" to certain astonishing individuals. It sometimes feels rude not to when invading their space. During the past couple of years I have started measuring their girth, observing their characteristics, noting ancient features, lichen and moss communities and cuckoo tree growth, along with all the usual stuff like what they are, where, when. Why? I'm a dendrophile! But also because there are lots of special trees out there that are not really taken much notice of. A special tree deserves to be recorded, even if this risks stealing something of its mystique, as John Fowles might accuse one of in his The Tree diatribe (a memoir that is worth reading if only for his description of an encounter with Wistman's Wood on Dartmoor: it's "floor like a tilted emerald sea...".

Trees deserve to be recorded because they tend to be there - and then not. It's the not being there which often kindles the strongest emotions, and by that stage it's too late. So, yes, recording a tree sort of trespasses upon its mystique, but perhaps only for the recorder and administrator, the botanist and arboriculturalist, whom arguably experience this as an occupational hazard anyway. By recognising its ancient features or opening a door for it into the Ancient Tree Inventory (ATI), it might be protected for lots of  other people to encounter who might otherwise not have enjoyed the opportunity. I wrote might be protected because there are plenty of examples where special trees, whether Notable, Veteran or Ancient, trees with TPOs, trees with a community awareness or even a community of defenders are ripped from us, usually by developers who see an obstacle and not a landscape feature. Two recent examples are the Penllergaer Giant Redwood in Swansea and the Cubbington Pear in Warwickshire (see herehere, here and here). That final news story saddens me such a lot because it demonstrates how people look at a tree and see only the above-ground bit and fail to recognise the mycorrhizal networks, the community of dependent species of bacteria, fungi, lichens, mosses, vascular plants, invertebrates, birds, mammals and everything else that an established tree harbours. Scions and sports need to establish themselves before they even approach the value in life that the Cubbington Pear supported. Grrr. But at least a measured, verified tree is known.

The ATI lists only two special trees in Newhaven and one of these is a 'lost' tree: a magnificent Huntingdon Elm Ulmus x hollandica, felled from its place at Grays School on Western Road, apparently, due to Dutch Elm Disease shortly before the vacant school was redeveloped into the modern houses which now stand there. I mourned the loss of this tree, which was mature when I attended Grays School between 1975-78. The other is an unspecified elm growing on private land in the 'old town' area, near Church Hill. I felt that two trees, even in a relatively tree-less area of the South Downs, was not representative enough of what is an historic town with historic places. Surely there must be more? This question has inspired me to establish whether there are more out there. 

Here are some of the special trees I have since found around Newhaven and the surrounding district, some of which I hope will be accepted into the ATI...

Beeches Fagus sylvatica, Duke's Walk, Bishopstone

A row of six healthy, mature trees interspersed with diseased Wych Elm Ulmus glabra, possibly planted c.mid-18th C by the Duke of Newcastle (or descendants of the originals). Not yet measured (I need a helper or two).

Walnuts Juglans regia, grounds of the former Downs Hospital, Church Hill, Newhaven.

From the left in the photo below:

Tree 1: girth 2.97m @ 0.94m below fork in bole; no obvious decay noted and only a few lichens. A strong, healthy, mature tree.

Tree 2: girth 2.95m @ 0.40m below 3-way split in bole; decay, hollowing, seepages, but few lichens.

Tree 3: girth 1.86m @ 0.62m below a rot-hole; apparently dead, standing, extensive decay, hollow, few lichens.

Tree 4: girth 2.43m @ 0.70m below a swelling and fork in bole; rot-hole; 50% decay, hollow, few lichens

Wild Cherry Prunus arvium, Meeching Down, Newhaven.

Fallen (suggest in Oct 1987), alive. Diameter approx 0.50m, approx 1.5m above root just beyond a wound (est. girth 1.55m).


English Elms Ulmus procera, Neills Close, Newhaven.

Four mature elms in apparent good health. A fifth was felled, presumably due to DED, some years ago.

Tree 1 (top photo): girth: 1.74m @ 1.50m. Maiden. Lichens.

Tree 2 (bottom photo, centre): girth: 1.78m @ 1.50m. Maiden. Lichens.

Tree 3 (bottom photo, left): girth: 2.20m @ 0.90m below low branches. Maiden. Lichens.

Tree 4 (bottom photo, right): girth: 1.70m @ 1.50m. Maiden. Lichens.

Pedunculate (English) Oak Quercus robur 

Growing on private land at Church Hill, Newhaven. An unusual, uncommonly mature oak growing in the town, possibly planted around the time the house was built (c.1810 or earlier).

Girth 2.48m @ 1.50m high. Maiden. Growing in a clay/sand outcrop.

Crack Willow Salix fragilis, wet meadows, Bishopstone (nr. former site of Bishopstone Place).

Girth 3.54m @ 1.50m, below a burr on the trunk. Standing, alive, significant decay, deadwood on ground, ground level suggestion of collapsed former bole extent. Wasp-infested!

Elders Sambucus nigra, Ouse Estuary Nature Reserve. 

Two mature trees along southern boundary path. 

Tree 1: girth = 1.30m measured at 0.3m height (beneath a low fork in the trunk).

Tree 2: girth = 1.11m, measured at 1.10m trunk height (single trunk with epicormic growth from ground);

Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna, Bollens Bush

A very large specimen with large, strong boughs. Top of wood by steps leading to open heathland.

Girth = 3.06m @ 66cm high, beneath fork in bole.

Many of these trees have been entered onto the Ancient Tree Inventory and await verification. The search around Newhaven continues.