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I am continuing with my plan to map all the special trees in the Balmaha Plantation in order to put them in context.  I have been a verifier for the Woodland Trust’s  Ancient Tree Hunt for a decade and have mapped trees all over Stirlingshire, but I have walked past these special trees day after day without realising just what we have on our doorstep. It was the possibility that we might lose this woodland that made me really see it. So now when I have a spare hour or two, I pull on my wellies and head out. I mostly have the plantation to myself, with occasional input from fat woodcock crashing out of the undergrowth in front of me or cronking ravens overhead, and I very quickly lose track of time. It’s usually a rumbling tummy that sends me home! Today I found a tremendous new specimen of a rare west coast lichen (graphis scripta)  on an old rowan. This is usually found on hazel, I think. I have also found glue fungus on a very old hazel. My tree  find for today  was an old elder, buttressed and gnarled, and growing up phoenix-like from an old fallen trunk. Trees are amazing – they can go on for ever. Who knows how old that elder is, but in a few years it will have reinvented itself all over again…

LH

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