Ancient Crabapple

Ancient Crab Apple Tree

This is the first tree I ever recorded for the Ancient Tree Hunt, way back in 2007, so it is a very special tree for me. It has survived despite being totally overshadowed by the conifers which have been planted all around it and also losing a  large branch recently. At first I thought it was an old Hawthorn, but when I visited it again in the Spring, it had very pretty apple blossom on a branch that was reaching towards daylight. I have found several other old Crab Apple trees dispersed up the east side of the loch but none of them are as appealing as this one, which is short and fat and has real character.


January 26, 2017

I only had a very short time to spend in the Plantation today so I didn’t go far. I concentrated on lichens and fungi instead of trees. It was such a beautiful sunny day! The honeysuckle leaves are just starting to show. I did find some new ash trees, actually, which is interesting since there are so few of them on the Plantation. They are there and they are trying hard to grow, but between the roe deer and ash die back , they don’t have much of a chance. And speaking of deer, I had to chase three of them out of my garden yesterday afternoon! I found several more good specimens of graphus alboscripta on birch; I have noticed that it thrives mainly on young birch trunks. The bark of the more mature trees becomes too rough for it. I also found it on one willow tree. Next time I go I will try to remember to take a bag with me for rubbish that I find…


Welcome to BBCA

First blog – here it is!

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…